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Drake starts tenure as Fallbrook Football Boosters president

 

Last updated 3/1/2007 at Noon



Rita Drake took over as the president of Fallbrook Football Boosters on January 8.

Drake replaces Kelley Holt, who stepped down from the position. Holt, whose son will graduate from Fallbrook High School in June, resigned to pursue professional opportunities. Holt is currently the chair of the physical education department of San Clemente High School.

“She’s promising to help,” Drake said of Holt. “She’s not going to go away completely.”

Drake’s son, Dustin, is currently a freshman at Fallbrook High School and spent 2006 on the Warriors’ freshman football team. Rita Drake had previously been the treasurer of Fallbrook Football Boosters after having been elected in February 2006. “That gave me a year’s experience with the program and fundraising,” she said.

Drake noted that her service as a booster club officer helped build relationships with coaches and high school administrators. “It just seemed to be a natural progression to have a member of the board go ahead and step up as president,” she said. “It just makes it a smoother transition to everyone involved.”

Drake’s tenure as treasurer included the discovery that the Fallbrook Football Boosters had issued a debit card to the head football coach at the time and that the debit card may have been misused. Although Drake was not responsible for the issuance of that card, she was responsible for the associated reconstruction of financial controls. “The presidency should be a piece of cake,” she said.

“That was pretty rough,” she said of the debit card issue. “That was a rough situation. But I do believe that the right things happened and in the long run the way it turned out is really what’s best for these boys.”

The reforms included greater accountability of the money raised by the players. “We accounted for every dime of the money that was raised by them,” Drake said. “They saw the benefit of every dollar that was raised, and that’s what was important.”

Drake and her family have lived in Fallbrook for the past seven years. She grew up in Fallbrook and graduated from Fallbrook High School but spent nine years in Lake Elsinore before returning to Fallbrook. Her husband, Kyle, is also a Fallbrook High School graduate. For the past 5 1/2 years Rita Drake has owned a vocational college in San Marcos.

Her older brother, Richard Vaughn, was on the Fallbrook High School varsity football team for two years and was also on the Warrior basketball team with current Fallbrook High School assistant football coach John Drew. “It’s kind of cool that my son’s coming up and will be coached by his uncle’s teammate,” Rita Drake said.

Dustin Drake began playing Fallbrook Pop Warner in 2001. In 2002 Rita Drake became a team mom, and in 2003 when current fourth-grader Katie Drake joined Fallbrook Pop Warner as a cheerleader Rita Drake took charge of the Little Flag Cheerleaders. In 2004 Rita Drake was elected as the league’s fundraiser, and in January 2005 she took over as Fallbrook Pop Warner football president.

“Those would be two big ones,” Drake said of her Pop Warner treasurer and president positions.

Fallbrook Football Boosters was re-organized as a non-profit corporation in 2006, shortly after the new officers took over and shortly after the discovery of the debit card irregularities. “We felt it was important to really start all over, and a really great way to do that was to establish this entity as a corporation,” Drake said. “It really created a delineation between ‘this is what happened before’ and ‘this is what we’re doing now.’”

That landed Drake, as booster club treasurer, a considerable time commitment. “It was a lot of work,” she said, “but those boys are worth it.”

The booster club officers, who previously served one-year terms, now serve two-year terms. “That continuity is important,” Drake said.

The booster club’s duties include major fundraising projects, in some cases in conjunction with the Fallbrook Union High School District such as the planned fieldhouse and the new stadium surface. Other expenses include team uniforms. “Every year that’s an expense, some years more than others,” Drake said.

Other expenses recur numerous times during the year. “We do provide protein shakes to the players. We do like to ensure that they’re getting the best nutrition possible,” Drake said.

During the off-season spring semester, protein shakes are provided after the physical education lifting period. While some sponsors provide pre-game meals for the varsity players, the booster club ensures that pre-game meals for players at all levels are provided.

“We were not let down by this community,” Drake said. “This [2006] is the first year that every kid has had a meal prior to the game.”

The game programs sold at Warrior home games are partially funded by advertising; the booster club pays for the shortfall. “That is a great community builder, and it’s a great memento for the families and the boys,” Drake said.

Other booster club expenses for the players include a season highlight DVD, the post-season banquet itself, and a Warrior Wear Clothing “Spirit Pack.”

The duties of the booster club also include keeping the Web page updated. “It’s a great resource for schedules and directions and recognizing our sponsors,” Drake said. “That’s a very important aspect of what we do as well.”

The debit card controversy led to a change in the Warriors’ head coach, who opted for long-term student-athlete building rather than quick results. “He stayed with those boys and he worked hard with them all the way through,” Drake said of new coach Patrick Schmidt.

Although the Warriors finished 0-10 in Schmidt’s first year, the community has not abandoned support for Schmidt or for the booster club. “We can’t do this without the community’s support,” Drake said. “It’s so important that the community remain behind these players.”

 

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