Barry Shuford says he began to get concerned about his players’ nutrition when he was coaching at Parkwood High School in Monroe about 10 years ago.
“It seemed like all of our freshman linemen were like 5-10, 270 pounds,” said Shuford, now head coach at Charlotte’s Olympic High. “We changed our philosophy. We said, ‘We need to preach to these guys (to lose weight).’ Some of these kids, you’d look at them and you’re like, ‘Geez, this kid will be 400 pounds at 28 years old.’”
Shuford, who was a 242-pound lineman at Lenoir-Rhyne when he graduated in 1984, started preaching proper nutrition, encouraging his players to eat a balanced diet and to eschew sodas and fast food.
“Some of the kids we’ve had are just unhealthy,” he said. “You think, ‘OK, in 10 years when you’re not doing anything, how bad is it going to be?’”
Shufford also coached at Butler High. One of his players was Zach Bevilacqua, a star lineman who gained 60 pounds in high school and eventually got up to over 400 pounds 10 years after high school before a dramatic weight loss.. “I talked to him (Wednesday) night and told him how proud I was that he’s gotten down. He realized real quick that you have kids and it changes your whole outlook. You think, ‘I’m not going to be around long if I don’t do something about this.’“
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