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Coach of the Week

Coach of the Week: Rich Drayton, Central High School 

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For the last 13 years, Rich Drayton has had the honor of coaching football at his alma mater, Central High School. Not only has he made a positive impact on his players, but also on the countless number of children he has helped through his nonprofit organization. 

Coaches Against Childhood Obesity was created by Drayton to expose children to activities involving movements they can repeat throughout their lifetime and can help them avoid the problems associated with obesity.  

"Being active contributes to their good health, Drayton said. "That could help extend their lives and make their quality of life better." 

The organization instructs kids 7-14 about nutrition and has them participate in a variety of exercises to get fit. 

The former Temple University running back returned to school to obtain a certification in education which made it easier to coach. During his time at Eastern University and then at Lincoln University, he received a certification in health and physical education. He also became a certified personal trainer while in school. His certifications have helped him in his role as the program director for Coaches Against Childhood Obesity. 

"I have trained athletes and people who are nonathletes," Drayton said. "It is very important for people to be active. I want to make sure that kids do not have to be superb athletes in order to be in shape."  

Drayton got his start in coaching at Cardinal Dougherty High School helping with the wide receivers. The opportunity came from his friend Dominic Damico, who invited Drayton to help at practice one day. 

He earned a degree in business administration at Temple, but after he dipped his toes into the waters of coaching, he knew where he wanted his career to go. 

"After the first day of practice, I knew I wanted to change my profession," Drayton said.  

Drayton has coached at North Penn High School, Wissahickon High School, and Cheltenham High School, where he also coached girls track. He has been a popular coaching figure in the Philadelphia community for decades.

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While physical activity is super important to Drayton, so is nutrition, especially for the children he coaches.

Drayton makes sure that those who participate in his events know how to take care of their bodies on and off the field.

"We want to talk to kids about nutrition, about the things that they put in their bodies, and help them perform better when they are not participating in sports."

Central High School's gym is one of the platforms for Drayton to run drills, play games, and teach healthy eating habits.

It is not just Drayton who is making a difference for the children. The players on Central High School's football team serve as coaches and run drills.

"It is important for them to give back because we have all had coaches that have influenced our lives," Drayton said. "You never know whose life you are going to touch."

The stations at each event include kettlebells, jump ropes, battle ropes, medicine balls, agility hurdles, ladders, and plyometric boxes.

Once the kids complete the stations, the players set up a fun culminating game for the kids to participate in before dismissal. Capture the flag, steal the bacon, and relay races are the most popular amongst the participants.

For Drayton, the future of Coaches Against Childhood Obesity is focused on two main goals.

First, introduce youth to healthy alternatives to ensure that they develop eating habits that revolve less around sugary and processed foods that contribute to obesity.

Second, decrease the number of obese children in our community who become obese adults by introducing calisthenics, plyometrics, and speed and agility exercises.

"Eating healthy and being active leads to a better quality of life," Drayton said. "And we just want to put that message out there."

Drayton's commitment to Central High School sports and the children of the Philadelphia community makes him the Week 2 Eagles Coach of the Week! Central High School will receive a $2,000 grant and Drayton will be entered in as a candidate for the Eagles High School Coach of the Year.

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