A longtime Beaufort football coach is sticking around the Lowcountry – in fact, he’s not even leaving Lady’s Island.
Former Beaufort High School coach Mark Clifford was announced as the new head coach at Beaufort Academy on Friday.
Clifford resigned in November after 14 seasons at Beaufort High in which he led the Eagles to a 109-59 overall record and 10 playoff appearances.
“Coach Clifford brings a wealth of football knowledge and experience to our football program,” BA athletics director Neal McCarty said in a release. “His passion, enthusiasm for the game and work ethic is contagious. Our student-athletes are fortunate to have him as their head coach.”
Scott Richards stepped down last month after going 15-24 in four seasons coaching BA, which was 5-6 and earned the first postseason victory in program history last season.
McCarty has indicated the school’s desire to move from 8-man football to 11-man, perhaps as early as next season, and he hopes hiring Clifford will help attract more players to bolster the roster and make that a reality.
“In searching for a new leader for the football program, we were looking for someone who would help us reach higher levels of excellence in all aspects of being a student-athlete,” McCarty said. “I believe we found a leader with the experience, knowledge and personality to grow our program and help produce well-rounded student-athletes who are successful both on and off the field.”
Clifford orchestrated a quick turnaround at Beaufort High, taking over a struggling program and going 13-1 in his first season at the helm. The man who hired him at Beaufort High – then-principal Dan Durbin – is the headmaster at Beaufort Academy.
“I am fired up about the opportunity to create a consistent winner with the BA football program,” Clifford said in the school’s release. “Dr. Durbin and I did it before, and there is a good chance we could do it again.”