Weight room gets revamped

Football weight room is nearly brand new thanks to generous donations.


By Alen Bolboli , Staff Writer

Ever since Hoover High football Coach Azad Herabidian was recruited to the Hoover staff in 2019 he has made it a mission to fully restore the team’s weight room to working condition. 

Herabidian has been working hard to restore the weight room.

“I spent about 150 to 200 hours in there just kinda refurbishing the equipment, grinding it out, taking all the rust off and reorganizing things, fixing things,” said Herabidian. 

“The motivation was that the weight room is a core part of any decent football program, you have to be able to have an off-season training program to be able to compete, to stay healthy, to prevent injuries, to have strength and explosiveness.”

Some of the equipment in the weight room was 40 years old with the newest equipment being 15 years old, with the equipment being dilapidated and unsafe. 

“A lot of football starts in the weight room and the training in the off-season and we didn’t have a good space so we started there,” said Herabidian. “The long term vision was to improve something every year.”

Herabidian knew that the process wasn’t going to be easy as nothing in high school level management ever is, so he asked his constituents for assistance. 

“So the following year I went to [Principal] Dr. Earl, because the flooring was really really terrible, with some different flooring samples and a proposal and asked her if she would be able to provide a certain amount of money for it, which was in the neighborhood of $3,800 to redo the flooring, and she was able to,” said Herabidian. 

Herabidian wanted the flooring to be done on an efficient timetable so he and his 70-year-old father did it themselves with each segment of the flooring weighing 600 pounds and spanning the length of the room; truly backbreaking work. 

From there it was a process of bringing the weight room back to usable condition piece by piece. 

Every year Herabidian would fund raises for new equipment like practice pants, footballs, practice equipment. 

Over the last couple of years, though, Herabidian was able to save enough money. 

“This year we raised and it was successful and [ASB Advisor] Dr. Step actually helped tremendously by reaching out to alumni and he was able to raise a lot of support and funds from them,” said Herabidian. 

Stepanyan, a teacher and Hoover and a huge fan of football, was happy enough to support his school’s team, and garner support from former Tornados

Two Hoover graduates who generously donated were David Budke (class of 1981) and Kevin Brown (class of 1982). Budke and Brown, who also played football at Hoover, with Brown eventually playing at Cal, each donated $2,500. The duo requested that a plaque be made in honor of their former football coach Jon Huss. The plaque will be displayed in the weight room.

“Dave and I have spoken many times over the years about how meaningful Coach [Jon] Huss was in our lives, not only as a football coach but as a mentor,” Brown said. “He taught all his players and assistant coaches lessons on life, not just football. We know his impact was significant for anyone who played for him as we’ve had many similar conversations with our former teammates.”

Another generous donation came from Carlos Velasco and his son, Humberto, who was a Pacific League champion shot putter and discus thrower who graduated from Hoover in 2022. Carlos Velasco donated $5,000, being the largest single-donor in the fundraiser campaign.

“Mr. Velasco’s donation was really what allowed us to kickstart the renovation,” Herabidian said. “It took the renovation from a dream to a possibility.”

After such a great fundraiser Herabidian was surprised by the massive support and donations of money, and was able to execute an idea he thought unlikely to happen for some time. 

“I did some research, found some commercial quality equipment really really good prices, brokered a couple of really good deals with a nice 20 percent discount which adds up when your buying thousands of dollars equipment, and the Band Director at the time Mr. Koester was kind enough to allow us to use the Band truck to go and pick up the equipment which saved us about a $1,000 in shipping, so it was like everybody helping out, Dr. Earl was able to purchase some portions of the equipment,” said Herabidian.

 It really was a team effort like nothing that Hoover High School has ever seen. 

After everything was said and done approximately $30,000 was spent on equipment and renovations. 

“That’s actually on the cheap end of the amount of equipment we got because we were able to do some great deals,” said Herabidian. 

The new and improved weight is sure to help the Hoover Football team succeed in the upcoming games of the season. 

Said football player Javon Lymon: “Hard work pays off.”