Matthew Ellis – Owner – Head Strength Coach

After playing many traditional sports like basketball, baseball, and soccer while growing up, he fell in love with track and field his Freshman year at Bishop Hendricken High School. Matt was a member of three indoor and four outdoor track teams at Hendricken and was named captain of his Senior indoor and outdoor track teams. He continued his track career at Stonehill College for another four indoor and four outdoor seasons being named a captain his Junior and Senior year.

After graduating in 2002, Matt began working at M-F Athletic Company and Perform Better in Cranston. This is where his practical education and love of weightlifting, powerlifting, and all things training started to flourish. Matt decided to leave his position at M-F in 2009 to pursue his love of training athletes and opened Primal Athlete Training Center. Matt has an aggressive, blue-collar style to his training that improves strength, endurance, and explosive power in all athletic movements.

In addition to owning and training athletes at Primal, Matt has spoken to thousands of coaches and athletic directors at many of the largest state and regional coaching clinics around the U.S. on topics such as functional training, peaking athletes for the championship season, kettlebell training for athletes, proper active warm-up, mobility drills, proper in-season and off-season training, and proper technique in the various throwing events. Articles written by Matt have appeared in coaching magazines, books, and websites around the world.
Matt is a life long RI resident, a dedicated husband, and is the dad to two wonderful boys, Will and Jake as well as a tubby English Bulldog named George.

Damian Perrotta – BS Kinesiology – Preseason Youth Camp Coordinator

Damian is originally from North Providence and graduated from LaSalle Academy in 2013. Damian graduates in May 2017 with his BS in Kinesiology from URI. 

Damian knows the ups and downs of middle school and high school sports first hand. Damian started as a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at Wickford Middle School. He is now the head wrestling coach at Lincoln Middle School. Damian wrestled for 8 years making All State his senior year as the captain of the LaSalle wrestling team.  In addition to wrestling, Damian also played Lacrosse at LaSalle for 4 years and was part of two state championship teams.
From his coaching duties at Lincoln and his training at Primal, Damian has found his true passion for coaching and training athletes. His favorite thing about Primal is helping young athletes step out of their comfort zones through their training to achieve goals they never thought possible.

Matt Peterson – BA Healthcare Administration

Matt is originally from West Warwick, RI and graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 2013. After graduating Hendricken Matt began studying Healthcare Administration at Stonehill College. Matt graduates with his degree in May 2017. 
Like many athletes who start training at Primal, Matt has been involved in playing sports his whole life. It started with basketball and baseball at a young age and concluded with American Legion baseball the summer after his senior year of high school.
At the beginning of college is where Matt fell in love with lifting weights and wanting to become stronger. In the summer of 2016 Matt participated in his first powerlifting meet with some of the other coaches and trainers at Primal taking first place in his weight class. 
Matt started coaching and training athletes at Primal his sophomore year at Stonehill as an intern. He became an official part of the Primal team after his internship concluded working closely with our athletes and our summer strength camps.  
“I fell in love with coaching because of Primal. I wanted to continue coaching during the school year. Every Friday I drive down an hour from school to work with the athletes. It’s a pleasure training the athletes and it is amazing to watch them grow as the weeks go by.” 

Ahnise Kassab -


Tommy Gottschalk – BS Kinesiology – USAPL Nationally Ranked Lifter

Tommy is originally from Shelton, CT and graduated from Shelton High School. Tommy was a tri-sport captain in football, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. Tommy will be graduating in 2017 from URI with a BS in Kinesiology.
Tommy is also a founding member of the URI Powerlifting Club. He was elected to Vice President his Junior year and is currently the President. At URI he is in charge of coaching 45 high level collegiate lifters along with writing their programming. Tommy is currently ranked 6th in the nation and #1 in New England in his weight class.
 Tommy has been coaching at Primal since September of 2015. Because of his competitive lifting background, Tommy is a stickler for proper technique which keeps our athletes safe and injury free through their training. Tommy is one of our most vocal coaches. You can always hear Tommy encouraging our athletes to work harder and push themselves during every exercise and circuit. 

Jess Patalano – BS Health Science – URI Physical Therapy Student

Jess attended Exeter-West Greenwich Senior High School where she was a four year varsity basketball player. She grew up playing several different sports including soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball and basketball and she has a broad knowledge of what it takes to be a successful athlete.
Jess began training as an athlete at Primal after her second ACL tear and over her time here she developed an interest in strength and conditioning as well as sports injury prevention. She was a dedicated athlete and the strength she built through our program allowed her to finish out her high school career as the starting point guard for her team. She was a senior captain and received All Division honors in her final year. After high school she went on to play college basketball at CCRI and then RIC. She will graduate in May of 2017 with a degree in Health Science and will be pursuing a doctorate of physical therapy at the University of Rhode Island.
Jess spent several years coaching basketball for the Rhode Island Lady Cyclones and is now the assistant varsity coach at The Prout School in South Kingstown. She continued to train at Primal even after her playing career was over and she began coaching at the gym in February of 2016. Jess loves working with younger athletes and continues to stay involved in her community and with the organizations that she played for over her high school and college career.
“Sports have had such a huge impact on who I have become and the path I have chosen to pursue. I have learned so much from my experiences and have made life long friends over the years. I hope to share that with younger athletes and make their experience with sports as positive and memorable as mine has been.”
Jess has competed at a high level and worked hard to rehab 3 knee injuries throughout her career. She understands the importance of strength as the foundation of every sport and she enjoys watching kids grow and improve. She has a great deal of personal experience with athletics as well as education and she continues to expand her knowledge every day.

Dan Freeman – Strength and Conditioning Expert – Javelin Throw Specialist

Dan has been studying and going to school for exercise science and sociology for the past 5 years at UNC Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a Division 1 Collegiate Track and Field Athlete. He is recently the School Record Holder in the Javelin, and an NCAA Regional Qualifier (2014). He was an All-State Athlete for Javelin and Shot Put in high school at Bishop Hendricken in Rhode Island.
After losing 40 pounds going into his freshman year of college and seeing the great benefits of it, Dan fell in love with exercise science and strength and conditioning. Dan is a strength intern for the UNC Charlotte strength staff helping train Cross Country and Middle Distance Track and Field, Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and Tennis, under 3 different strength coaches with specialties in Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and Athletic Performance. Primal Athlete Training Center has been his home for lifting and learning since the summer of 2012 after going through many injuries.“Without Primal Athlete Training Center I would not be competing. It has helped mold me to where I am now.” 
The coaching world was introduced to him in the throws events that same year, working with athletes age 9-63. 
Credentials: Certified in Functional Training, CPR/AED/Blood Pathogens Certified