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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 02, 2020

Middletown South’s Bill Clifton Named Coach of the Year

By Les Pierce

Coach Bill Clifton and wife, Kathleen, following the 2019 Monmouth County Championships

Middletown High School South girls’ cross country coach William “Bill” Clifton has been named Coach of the Year by the Shore Track Coaches Association (STCA). This past fall, the Clifton-coached South girls’ cross country team started the 2019 campaign claiming titles at the Battle at Ocean County Park, the Bernie Magee Memorial Classic and the Manhattan College Invitational. The Eagles closed their season by sweeping the Monmouth County, Shore Conference, North 2 Group 3 State Sectional and overall Group 3 State Championships.

2019 marked Clifton’s 18th year as the head coach of the Middletown South girls’ cross country team. His wife, Kathleen, has been by his side as his assistant for the entire run. During that span, the Eagles have earned 11 Divisional titles, two Monmouth County, two Shore Conference, seven State Sectional and two State Group Championships. He has also coached boys’ and girls’ track and field for 23 years at MHSS.

Prior to coming to MHSS, Clifton coached at Kearny High School for 20 years, beginning in 1977. He has since been inducted into the Kearny High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his coaching successes at that school.

Distance running is a three season sport. As the indoor track schedule rolls out this winter, Clifton will be coaching his 119th season over a 43-year career.

Clifton attained his love for the sport when he ran for Essex Catholic High School in Newark. He then went on to carry the Jersey City State College colors during his collegiate career.

Clifton stated, “I have experienced so much in my coaching years including state championships, Eastern States championships and a national record, but most memorable is coaching with my wife by my side and both of us being able to coach our daughter, Carly, for all four of her high school years. Our son, Kevin, who was involved in football, baseball and swimming, could not resist being a part of our running family and came out for indoor track for a season.”

Modesty is another major attribute of Clifton’s persona. This writer approached the veteran mentor twice about writing a “Coach of the Year” article and was twice rebuffed. He retorted that it was not he, but the student athletes who were deserving of recognition. It was only after his wife was enlisted as a persuasive partner that he surrendered the details of his career to be chronicled here.