Renowned strength and conditioning coach arrested for providing teen with steroids

Ben Rohrbach
Donaldsonville (La.) High strength and conditioning coach Curtis Tsuruda, 56, reportedly provided a student with steroids. (Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)
Donaldsonville (La.) High strength and conditioning coach Curtis Tsuruda, 56, reportedly provided a student with steroids. (Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)

Police have arrested a nationally recognized strength and conditioning coach for allegedly providing an unknowing 16-year-old high school student with steroids, according to multiple reports out of Louisiana.

Donaldsonville (La.) High strength and conditioning coach Curtis Tsuruda, 56, faces four criminal charges after he allegedly gave a student Methandienone steroids in the form of a pill he told the teen was comprised of amino acids and protein, Baton Rouge's WAFB-TV and other local television outlets reported.

According to various online bios, Tsuruda has more than 30 years of experience in the field, including college stops at Mississippi St. (1991-92), Hawaii (1992-97), LSU (1997-2000) and Tulane (2001-04). He also worked at Reserve (La.) East St. John High before ultimately joining Donaldsonville's staff in August 2013. The Hawaii, Tulane and LSU football teams all won bowl games during Tsuruda's tenure at the schools.

The Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society (PFSCCS) presented Tsuruda with its High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year honor in 2009, and an interview with him can currently be found on the NFL High School Player Development program website.

“His resume reads like something out of Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” PFSCCS president Mike Mashburn said five years ago. “He’s gone out of his way to elevate his profession. The proof is in the pudding.”

Tsuruda has also been a physical education teacher at Donaldsonville. The Ascension Parish School Board has placed Tsuruda on administrative leave pending further investigation, according to WAFB-TV. He reportedly confessed to providing the student with illegal streroids disguised as legal supplements, and additional steroids were discovered during a search of his home in St. John the Baptist Parish.

“I want to help them become better athletes and people,” Tsuruda told the L'Observateur in 2009. “A lot of coaches act like kids are lucky to have them as coach. But I tell them, ‘I’m honored to be able to work with you.’ Without the high school athlete, we wouldn’t have a job here. Many don’t look at it that way, but I do.”

Because their bodies are still developing, teenagers are more susceptible to the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs, according to the FDA, but "an alarming number of them are trying steroids." The allegations against Tsuruda only compound a problem that permeates competitive sports on a global scale.