Chargers’ Austin Ekeler to help build new gym for high school

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) laughs with teammates.
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler laughs with teammates before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 3.
(Reed Hoffmann / Associated Press)

Austin Ekeler is best known for being an NFL player, a running back for the Chargers.

After that, he’s recognized for his commitment to the weight room. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Ekeler is a workout monster.

It was a natural first step then that the newly formed Austin Ekeler Foundation would help build a gym.

In conjunction with the Hutton Parker Foundation, Sonos and Perform Better, Ekeler will provide equipment, a sound system and flooring for a new facility at Santa Barbara High School.


Brandon Staley’s introductory news conference revealed little about the man whose rise into the Chargers’ head coaching job remains a bit of a mystery.

Jan. 22, 2021

“Growing up, the gym kept me pushing forward, kept me always striving to better myself,” Ekeler said. “Even though I didn’t really realize the impact that the gym would have on my life back then, I do now. So I wanted to offer that back to the community.”

After launching in March, Ekeler’s foundation was officially established late in the 2020 season. This is its first project.

Santa Barbara High’s Peabody Stadium has been undergoing a major renovation. The new gym will be part of the finished product.

“I love to connect with the community, just vibe with them,” Ekeler said when asked about forming a foundation. “I wanted to take it one step farther and help them in places where resources may be limited.”

Santa Barbara is a Title I school because at least 50% of its students are socio-economically disadvantaged.

Ekeler recently visited the campus and will return in March, when the gym is expected to be completed.

“He’s just genuine,” said Elise Simmons, Santa Barbara’s principal. “There’s no ego. It was great meeting him. He really, really wants to give back to the community and make sure students have a similar experience to what he had.”