History of East Alabama Weightlifting

Founded in 1998 by Les Simonton, East Alabama Weightlifting is the oldest weightlifting club in the state. Prior to the formation of the club, local weightlifters trained at the National Strength Research Center that was then-located at Auburn University. Once on-campus training was no longer an option, EAW was founded to provide a home for local weightlifters who were left without a facility.

Coach Les Simonton began training in weightlifting in 1984 and Coach Joey Hundley began shortly thereafter. Steve Giles and Jeremy Shepard joined the club in the mid-to-late 2000s and took on coaching roles in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Recently, Chris Brooks and JB Smith have taken up the mantle and serve in coaching roles within the club, as well.

Throughout the years, club population has waxed and waned due to the nature of college towns, but steady growth has been experienced over the last several years due to the rise in popularity of the sport. EAW has grown from a grassroots club housed in multiple garages to a formal organization with a central facility and the ability to provide financial assistance toward national competitions for competitive weightlifters. With an eye toward expanding into other cities and stretching the definition of ‘East Alabama’, the club continues to grow but maintains the spirit and camaraderie of the original garage gym.