Special to The Clinton Courier
Andrew Rafferty, the Clinton Public School District’s (CPSD) first full-time strength and conditioning coach, was recently named Mississippi’s Coach of the Year by the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA).
He is one of seven southeastern regional coaches recognized by the NHSSCA.
CPSD Athletics Director Dr. Brian Fortenberry said having Coach Rafferty’s knowledge and expertise truly benefits the students and the athletic program as a whole.
“The evidence of what he has added to our athletic programs can be seen in full display when watching our teams perform,” Fortenberry said. “Beyond the strength and conditioning, the students appreciate his support for their efforts,” he added. “He shows up to their games, supports them on the sidelines, and even sometimes drives the bus to get them to an away game.”
As Clinton’s strength and conditioning coach, Rafferty is tasked with customizing strength and conditioning plans that are tailor-made for each athlete inside his or her respective sport.
From working with soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, golf, cross country and basketball, Rafferty’s weight training programs have proven beneficial for Arrow athletic programs.
Eliot Rimmer, head coach for the 2023 MHSAA 6A State Champion Girls Soccer team said Rafferty truly stands out as a unique leader that has proven his value to the girls’ soccer program.
“We saw a serious reduction in injuries and games missed this year,” Rimmer said. “That is due to the program Coach Rafferty created. The ability to consistently have our team available to play gave us a significant advantage in a sport where often the team that can stay healthy is the team that wins.”
Tyler Wade, head coach for the 2023 MHSAA 6A State Champion Boys Soccer team, echoed Rimmer, saying the implementation of a full-time strength and conditioning coach directly influenced his team’s ability to win back-to-back state championships. “To make it to the state championship this year, we had to travel in all four rounds of playoffs,” Wade said. “Because of the work our guys put in with Coach Rafferty, we seemed to continue to get stronger at the end of the season, when most of our opponents struggled to maintain their strength and fitness level.”
The NHSSCA Coaches of the Year award is given annually to a high school strength and conditioning coach, recognizing his or her coaching achievements and passion for the profession.