Nick Caropino PT, DPT, SPARC Director
Nick is currently a Physical Therapist at Athens Orthopedic Clinic and is stepping into the additional role of SPARC Director. Originally from New Orleans, LA, Nick completed his bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from S. Louisiana State University. His experience in strength and conditioning includes coaching of youth, collegiate and professional athletes, Director of Sports Performance and Wellness, as well as working with organizations such as Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning and Nike. Nick then returned to school where he attained his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The University of St. Augustine with an emphasis in orthopedics and manual therapy. Nick has a passion for sports medicine and optimizing fitness and human performance. He truly believes that anyone can reach a set goal with the proper care, dedication, and a positive attitude.
Christopher Seponski M.S., CSCS, SCCC, USAW, Fitness and Wellness Coordinator and Strength Coach
Chris is one of our current coaches who was recently promoted into the Fitness Coordinator for General Populations. Originally from the Philadelphia, PA area, Chris completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame in theology and philosophy and Master’s in Fitness and Human Performance at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. He has experience at both the collegiate level at the Universities of Arkansas and Georgia, as well as exercise research experience with the Wyle, Inc. exercise team at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas. He and his wife, Desiree have 2 daughters, Maitri and Maia.
Jan Bush, Licensed Massage Therapist
Jan joined the SPARC team in February 2018 and is excited to be in such a great environment for health & wellness. She is passionate about her client’s well-being and a strong supporter of living a healthy lifestyle. Jan believes in an integrative approach to massage therapy, so if warranted, may recommend an assessment by one of SPARC’s amazing Physical Therapists or Strength & Conditioning Coaches!
Sam Braxton, M.S., CSCS, USAW-1, Sports Performance and Strength Coach
Sam originally began with SPARC as an intern in 2019 and has worked his way to being recently promoted to Sports Performance Coordinator. Born in upstate New York, Sam spent the majority of his life in the Rainer Beach area of Seattle, WA. Sam received his B.A. in Kinesiology, Sports Studies, and Physical Education at Morehouse College and M.S. in Kinesiology at the University of Georgia. Sam holds certifications as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and USA Weight Lifting Level-1 coach (USAW-1). Sam’s strength and conditioning and sports performance experience include coaching youth, collegiate, and professional athletes. He also has experience in ACL return to sport rehabilitation, bodybuilding, sports conditioning, and weight management. Sam has recently become a father and his son, Imre’, is the inspiration of his life.
Zeb Rogers, M.S., ATC, Athletic Trainer
Zeb coaches our Adult Bridge Class and Small Group Classes. He is originally from Milledgeville, GA. He graduated from Georgia College with a degree in Athletic Training and got his Master’s degree at the University of Georgia in Exercise Science. He has lived in Athens for the last 16 years. He is a Certified Athletic Trainer and covers sports at Prince Avenue Christian School. He is married to Crystal and has two children, Brody and Bella.
Kati Koutrelakos, B.S., M.B.A, CSCS, Strength Coach
As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Kati approaches two years as a coach on the SPARC team. Earning her undergraduate degree at The University of Georgia, she is a proud dawg and earned her Master of Business Administration through Mercer University this year as well. Kati thoroughly enjoys working with the general population to build relationships and help people achieve their health goals on a holistic level.
Stephen Buckner, M.S., CSCS, CPT, NASM-PES, USAW-SPC, USAPL, Strength & Conditioning Coach
Stephen first arrived at SPARC as an intern in August 2019 before officially joining the coaching staff shortly after. He obtained his Master’s of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Strength, Conditioning, & Fitness, from the University of Georgia in December 2019. Before settling in Athens, Stephen was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There, he earned three degrees from Louisiana State University (B.A. in English, B.A. in History, and a B.S. in Kinesiology), while also working part-time in radio broadcasting. Stephen’s extensive experience as a strength and conditioning coach includes stints working with UGA Athletics; Bruce Barbell; high school and middle school athletes; LSU and UGA’s university recreation departments; and general populations at various commercial gyms. Stephen particularly enjoys training power and endurance athletes across a variety of sports, but he still relishes the opportunity to better anyone’s strength, aerobic health, and fitness.
Tyler West B.S., CPT, Pn1, CSAC
Tyler is a strength coach originally from Americus, Georgia where he completed his B.S. in Exercise Science. As a former competitive powerlifter, Tyler enjoys working with strength athletes and our youth sports program but has experience in a wide variety of clients from all backgrounds. He specializes in helping people build the strength they didn’t know they were capable of and optimizing training for sports performance.
Thomas Embry, B.S., USAW-1, Strength Coach
Coach Thomas Embry studied at LaGrange College where he focused on Exercise Science and Kinesiology. He was also apart of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity where he served multiple positions along with playing for the college baseball team. He works with all age groups at SPARC, ranging from as young as 5 years old to 80 years old. He has over 10 years of personal experience with weight lifting and 5+years in the professional training field.