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Beaufort Academy High School

Mark Clifford Retires As Head Football Coach At Beaufort High To Assume Similar Role At Beaufort Academy, Move Reunites Him With Friend Dr. Dan Durbin

By Billy G. Baker


Beaufort—After 33 years coaching in the public schools, including three years as a college assistant at East Carolina, Mark Clifford is retiring as the head football coach at Beaufort High to assume a similar job at nearby Beaufort Academy.

Clifford, now 61, spent 16 seasons at Beaufort where he fashioned a 110-59 career record and his 2007 team played for the AAAA Div. II state title. Coach Clifford also had three region winning teams as well.

“After 33 years I was eligible for my full state retirement, so it was a good time to seek a new challenge and still stay in the game of football,” said Coach Clifford. “I had some other job opportunities but I love living in Beaufort and I have formed a lot of relationships with the people in the community. And there are a lot of fish here and I love to fish.

“To be honest, with Dr. (Dan) Durbin being the Head of School at Beaufort Academy it made my decision to accept their offer a lot easier,” said Coach Clifford. “Dr. Durbin gave me my first head coaching job at Beaufort. He understands the importance of a winning football program to a school, and the community it serves. He is a great person and he has some big plans for Beaufort Academy.”

Dr. Dan Durbin commented on the hiring of Mark Clifford with these comments, “It’s always a plus to hire a coach that has proven he can translate Xs and Os into victories on the field,” said Dr. Durbin, a former “National Teacher of the Year” in his native Indiana. “But, Mark Clifford’s brings even more to the position. Throughout his career, Mark has proven that he is an outstanding advocate for young people in helping them meet their full potential in life.”

Coach Clifford said he will also be like a “Dean of Boys” at Beaufort Academy, a similar role of an assistant principal. In addition to coaching the football team, and being in charge of weight training, he will be available each morning in a class room setting to talk about any issues that might come up with male students.

“I will be available for mentoring and listening to the needs of the teenage boys at Beaufort Academy and sometimes a kind ear is all a young person needs,” said Coach Clifford, who also played college football for Danny Ford at Clemson. “I am in the business of helping kids.”

Coach Clifford said one of his challenges from going from 11-man AAAA public school football team to a SCISA 8-man team is that he has been use to coaching and teaching a player to play one position on a team. “I was never a big fan of platooning, or having a player going both ways, but with smaller numbers we are going to have to teach a player how to play offense and defense,” said Coach Clifford. “My first challenge is to get as many boys already at Beaufort Academy to come out for football and to also commit to a weight training program. I have always been strong on a weight program and teaching fundamentals. My teams are going to be fundamentally sound.”

Coach Clifford said his goal is have between 18 to 20 players on the team this season. He is proud of his coaching staff he has assembled. Mike Roark will serve as defensive co-coordinator and work with the defensive line and linebackers. Coach Clifford will be his own offensive co-coordinator. Gerald Legare will work with running backs and defensive backs and Sam Keeler will work with special teams. Brad Gonzales will work with receivers and serve as a liaison working with recreation football coaches in the Beaufort area.

“One big plus for the program is Scott Richards, who has head coached the team the past three years has agreed to stay on as my assistant head coach,” said Coach Clifford. “He already knows the kids in the program and that will help with a smooth transition.”

Coach Clifford will have his first formal meeting with his assistants, team members, and parents at the school on May, 14.

“We will have just a few days of Spring football and very limited physical contact while we are just getting ourselves organized,” said Coach Clifford. “I will be handing out a weight room and conditioning schedules that we will start in early June. I am looking forward to my new job at Beaufort Academy very much.”

Beaufort Academy State Championship Update

With the Beaufort Academy boy’s soccer team competing for a SCISA AA boy’s soccer title at Cardinal Newman on May, 11 the school has an opportunity to win their 5th state title during the 2017-18 school year.

The boy’s golf and tennis teams recently won state titles Golfer Joe Stowe was the Medalist for his event. The volleyball and girl’s golf teams won state titles in the fall.









© 2017 High School Sports Report

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