Drake named Head Football Coach at LA
MERRY HILL – High School football in the Roanoke-Chowan region continues to have a Hertford County flair.
Earlier this week, Beau Drake was named Head Football Coach at Lawrence Academy, becoming the fifth local HCHS or Ahoskie High School graduate leading gridiron programs in the six football-playing schools in the region.
Drake joins Scott Privott (Hertford County High School), Greg Watford (Bertie High School), Collin Sneed (Northeast Academy) and George Privott (Northampton-East) as local coaches with Hertford County ties.
In fact, it was the love of his native region that is bringing Drake back to the Roanoke-Chowan region after an 11-year hiatus.
“Karrie and I have two young sons and that changes your priorities,” Drake said. “What you want and what you think is best, you sometimes find out may not be.”
He said over the last decade each time he has visited home, friends have asked when he would come back and he often shrugged it off. That changed after having children.
“I wanted my kids to have the same upbringing I did – good folks and great family,” he said. “I want them to grow up in a place you can roam wild and free. It’s a totally different world here (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) than where I grew up.
“I look forward to raising our kids in a place where morals and values are the same,” the coach added.
Drake graduated from Hertford County High School, where he was a standout performer on the football team and went to East Carolina University. There he was part of the 1995 Liberty Bowl winning team and earned recognition as “Pirate Ironman.”
He finished his degree and playing career locally at Chowan University where he was honored with the Jim Garrison Leadership Award.
Following his playing career, Drake has coached football at a variety of stops in both high school and college coaching. He has coached in North Carolina, Florida, Illinois and Georgia.
In his last stop, Drake took an assistant coaching position for a team that had lost 18 straight games. Last year, the same high school went 7-3 and broke several county records.
He is aware the same type of rebuilding situation is awaiting him at Lawrence where the Warriors haven’t won more than three games in any of the past five seasons.
“It seems like a rebuilding situation,” he said. “They’ve had struggles in the past several years, but I love a challenge. I have always been the type of person that roots for the underdog and this seems like the perfect fit for me.”
He also credited the administration at Lawrence – both academic and athletic – for being a big reason he chose to take the job leading the Warriors’ football program.
Drake said the reputation of Headmaster Thomas Gregory is something he knew going in.
“I didn’t know Mr. Gregory personally, but I knew his reputation and the type of person he was,” Drake said. “I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter how well you coach if you don’t have support from the administration.
“I met (Athletic Director) Robert Kravitz and he was a sharp and outstanding person,” Drake said. “I knew with leaders like that, it was going to be a good fit for me.”
Gregory and Kravitz were pleased with the person who would be leading the program for them.
“I’m excited to have a person with his principles and character coming to be with our kids every day – coaching them, teaching them and being around them,” Gregory said. “He has a solid background and will be a tremendous asset to our school.”
“Our football program has a proud heritage and Coach Drake is exactly the type of person who can take us back to that type of tradition,” the Athletic Director said. “I look forward to working with him every day and to seeing the excitement and energy he will bring.”