Former Calera Eagle basketball star returns to coach
By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist
Calera High 2005 graduate George Drake is returning to his alma mater as P.E. Instructor for Calera Middle School and to assume responsibility as Calera High Head Basketball Coach for the 2013-14 school season. Drake led the Eagles to the AHSAA Class 2A championship game in 2005 under the coaching of Robert Burdette. He was the first player in Alabama history to be selected as Most Valuable Player of region four times, runner-up for 2005 Alabama Mr. Basketball and named to the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic following his senior season.
Profiled by the Vanderbilt Commodores as “an athletically gifted player who possesses a good shooting touch and good attitude for the game,” Drake was redshirted his freshman year. The shooting guard played three seasons for the Commodores before transferring to UAB for his final season of college basketball.
Drake earned a B.S. in Sociology with a Minor in Political Science from Vanderbilt and a Masters in Health Education at UAB. He was UAB’s Associate Director of Basketball Operations prior to accepting the P.E. Instructor position.
He faces the challenges that come as head coach through experience gained under UAB Head Basketball Coach Jerod Haase. Knowledge and experience Haase brought to the court from his three-year tenure as North Carolina JV basketball coach has prepared Drake for his coaching position.
“This is a dream opportunity to coach the basketball team,” Drake said. “Coach Burdette brought much success to the program and no one carries a higher expectation for our basketball program than me. The people of Calera have always loved and supported basketball here and I’m totally committed to carrying on the championship culture. I’m excited to be coaching this year and like the saying goes, there’s no place like home.”
Calera High Principal Richard Bishop is pleased to have Drake on the coaching staff. “We’re excited to have George return to his alma mater,” he said. “He comes highly recommended from his coaches at Vanderbilt and UAB. His UAB coach could not say enough about George’s good character and how well he relates with kids.”
Drake and his wife Erica (Smith) reside in Calera.