Drake chosen to lead Knights

By Jessie H. Nunery

Sports Editor

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Despite receiving applicants from across the country, Northern Nash simply dipped into its coaching staff to replace its boys’
basketball coach.

Henry Drake was promoted from junior varsity to the varsity head coach position Tuesday
afternoon.

He replaces Rick Ruffin, who resigned from his position in March after 12 seasons with the Knights.

“To be able to coach at your alma mater is a dream come true,” said Drake, a 1991 graduate of the school. “It’s a dream come true. I couldn’t be happier for this
opportunity.”

Drake, 41, will inherit a program that finished 7-16 last year, including only one victory in the Big East Conference.

Transfers and off-the-court matters the past few seasons are challenges that Drake said he would like to leave in the past.

“We need to get excited about basketball again at Northern,” Drake said. “I’ll bring energy and excitement, and I hope I’ll be able to instill that in our players.”

Drake, who has been guided in his career by Ruffin and Knights girls’ basketball coach Grover Battle, rose to the top of stacks of resumes that came in as far as California.

“We were slow and deliberate with our interview process because we wanted to hire the best candidate for our students at Northern Nash,” Knights athletics director Patricia Haggerty said. “He will bring some good things to our basketball program.”

Drake plans to meet soon with his new players, some of whom he coached at the junior varsity level.

There will be some changes next season, even if they come from a familiar face.

“I think disicipine is key,” Ruffin said. “If you can come in and the kids know what to expect on and off the court, then can have success. He’ll be intense as a coach, and I feel like watching him, the kids will play hard for him. I think he’ll do well.”

Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or jhnunery@rmtelegram.com

Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or jhnunery@rmtelegram.com