After more than a decade on the sidelines, Mark Clifford is stepping down as Beaufort’s football coach.
Clifford informed the school of the decision Monday. The news was first reported by www.lowcosports.com.
“The last couple of years it’s been tough getting people to buy into my old school beliefs. I’m a Danny Ford product. I’m not saying that the game has passed me by because you still win by blocking, tackling and outlasting the opponent, but it’s hard these days to get everyone to support the conventional game of football – practice format, uniform, expectations, demeanor, etc,” Clifford said. “It’s been lingering in my mind now for about two years. When I delegated the offense, people began to see signs. I loved my split back, pro formation hammer offense. I felt it was time to let someone and take a good program further.”
Before Clifford arrived in 2004, the Eagles were 3-30 but he immediately to them into a winner. Beaufort made it to the Lower State championship in his first season and state championship game in 2007.
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Clifford had a 107-52 record in 14 seasons, including an 7-3 mark this year. Beaufort finished third in Region 8-4A and lost to Myrtle Beach, 48-7, on Friday in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
He was the Island Packet Coach of the Year in 2013.
Clifford said the biggest thing he is going to miss is the players and relationships he has been able to build throughout the years.
“I will always remember the feeling of accomplishment and confidence the kids showed when they started winning … and kept winning,” Clifford said. “The Beaufort doors are always revolving with kids coming back to school, practices and games from colleges and jobs to see the ol’ coach.
“That’s probably my favorite part and what I’ll miss the most. I feel I have helped make Beaufort football a solid part of this community and made them proud of us.”
Before getting the head coaching job at Beaufort, Clifford was a grad assistant at East Carolina and an assistant at Hillcrest High School in Dalzell and at Sumter High School. He was the offensive coordinator at Sumter and part of five state title appearances.
Clifford will remain at the school until the end of the year and hasn’t ruled coaching again.
Beaufort will be moving into Region 7-4A next year with Bluffton, Hilton Head and Stall.