Rich Drayton 246

The Associated Alumni of Central High (AACHS) is thrilled to spotlight one of our esteemed alumni, faculty members, and current Athletic Director, Rich Drayton (246) in our ongoing efforts to improve Central’s athletic facilities.

Mr. Drayton’s journey through Central is a testament to the transformative power of our alma mater. Reflecting on his initial reluctance to attend Central, Mr. Drayton now champions the institution that laid the foundation for his success: 

My four years at Central served as stepping stones to get me to a point where I could adequately navigate my way through life.”

Having coached his son, Rich III (271), on the gridiron and witnessed his daughter, Rae (269), achieve success on the basketball court, Mr. Drayton understands firsthand the impact of Central’s athletic programs on students’ lives. He emphasizes the importance of goal-setting and perseverance, advising current students to “eliminate the word ‘quit’ from their vocabulary” as they strive for excellence both on and off the field.

Back in September 2023, Drayton was named the Philadelphia Eagles Coach of the Week, securing a $2,000 grant for Central High School.

Mr. Drayton received this distinction for the positive impact he has made on his players, and for 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.  They also place an importance on nutrition and teaching healthy eating habits.

The players on Central’s football team often serve as coaches and run drills for the children during events.

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.

Under Coach Drayton’s stalwart leadership as Athletic Director, alongside our dedicated coaches, our Lancers continue to bring home championship after championship with their disciplined teamwork and talents.

While Central’s academic reputation remains unparalleled, our athletic facilities are showing signs of age and are in need of repair.

Recognizing the competitive landscape facing CHS, Rich underscores the urgency of this issue, “We need to update our facilities from bathrooms to scoreboards to meet modern standards for functionality, safety, and overall accessiblity and use.

Athletic facilities
The picture above shows the current condition of the gymnasium floor, and highlights the current need for a propert field for practice and games at Central. 

There is a critical need to modernize and upgrade Central’s athletic facilities to ensure our award-winning sports teams can attract talented players and enhance the school’s robust athletic program.

That’s why the Central High Athletic Facilities Initiative has been launched, with the full support of President Katharine Davis (264) and AACHS.

This initiative was kickstarted by a member of the 228th class in partnership with the athletic department.

Central’s athletic facilities faces numerous challenges beyond the restoration and renovation of the gymnasium, including unsafe and unkempt off-campus practice areas for the tennis teams, limited space for performers and dance squads, and shared sports grounds for softball, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse teams.

Additionally, maintenance issues in the dance and wrestling gym, at the field, fieldhouse, and track, highlight the urgent need for comprehensive improvements to Central’s athletic facilities.

The first phase includes the restoration and renovation of the gymnasium, a vital hub for Central’s athletic community; however, the need to improve Central’s athletic facilities goes beyond the gymnasium alone.

The boys and girls tennis teams has long faced challenges practicing and playing in areas that are unsafe or unkempt, highlighting the pressing need for on-campus tennis courts at Central.

The dance gym has become limiting in space for the growing number of performers, as they practice for competition, cultural showcases and other performances.

The softball team currently shares the football field with the lacrosse team, leaving athletes without access to a proper field to practice. The baseball field requires maintenance and the fieldhouse is dilapidated. The track is also in need of improvements, due to wear and tear from weather conditions.

Despite these challenges, our student athletes continue to succeed, holding title wins or having won this year’s season:

  • Boys and Girls Cross Country won their second consecutive Public Championship and Girls won District 12
  • Baseball and Softball won the Public League Championship last year
  • Girls Soccer, Boys and Girls Swimming won the Public League Championship and Girls Swimming won District 12
  • Girls Lacrosse and Boys Wrestling won second place in the Public League
  • Badminton and Girls Volleyball won their second consecutive Public League Championship
  • Girls Tennis won its 10th consecutive Public League Championship and the third consecutive District 12 ChampionshipImagine what our students could acheive with the proper facilities?

Imagine what our students could acheive with the proper facilities?

Together, let’s ensure that Central High continues to turn goals (aces and wins) into reality by also honoring our talented and dedicated coaches, including more than a dozen living alumni, both retired and current coaches at Central High School who have dedicated their careers to our student-athletes. 

Let us recognize our Lancers who coached at Central: Rich Drayton (246) and other alumni who coached our student-athletes like Arnold Shiffrin (205), Bob Barthelemeh (228), Frank Greco (228), Haviland Harper (230), Jeff Blank (231), Henry Leong (242), Tracy Freeland (244), Fred McCray Jr. (246) and Mike Horwits (251), Rachel Rodriguez (252), Nick Kosiek (255), Nicole VanBuskirk (257), Jeremy Julien (259), Chuck Wenger (260), Daniel Spivack (271). If we are missing any names, please be sure to inform us!

Let us also recognize coaches like Fred Brannon, Diane Bakum, Janice Evans, Carl Flaxman, Steve Innamarato, Thomas DiRenzo, Rich Weiss, Alina Whittle and more.

We would also like to acknowledge faculty and coaches who have since passed, but left an indelible mark on our student athletes. 

Help our Lancers set another record, and show your support today.