Clifford named new head golf coach at St. Clairsville

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Ryan Clifford is a veteran of the coaching ranks.

However, the recently turned 41-year old is venturing into new coaching territory.

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the St. Clairsville Board of Education, Clifford was formally approved as the new Red Devils’ golf coach, becoming the third coach in as many seasons for the program that’s been one of the area’s best.

“St. Clairsville has a long-standing golf tradition, and I am hoping to do my best to keep that going,” Clifford said. “We lost some really good players to graduation, but we have some kids back who play a lot and invest a lot of time into the game.”

The Red Devils are coming off a season in which they won the OVAC, Buckeye 8 and came up just short of qualifying for the Division II state tournament. However, gone from that team are Brendan Vucelich, Jacob Jeffries and Broc Crist.

Clifford is entering his second season at the helm of the St. C. boys basketball program after spending 17 seasons working under his father, Kim. Earlier in the spring, Clifford informed St. C. football coach Brett McLean that he would be resigning his position on the Red Devils’ football staff to focus solely on the basketball program. However, when the golf job became open, Clifford threw his hat into the ring.

Clifford graduated from St. Clairsville in 1996. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Ohio University and has a masters in curriculum from the University of Phoenix. Prior to landing a teaching job at St. Clairsville, he spent a year on the faculty at Zanesville High School.

Along with coaching basketball, Ryan has also spent the last 17 seasons working under McLean with the Red Devils football program. That’s a role he intends to continue — at least for the 2018 campaign.

On top of golf being a new sport on Clifford’s coaching resume, he’ll also have the opportunity to coach females for the first time. St. Clairsville has a girls’ golf program that has increased numbers for the upcoming season.

“I am excited about the number of girls we have out,” Clifford admitted. “Golf is really growing in popularity with females. Some of the girls we have out, like our boys, play a lot, invest a lot of time and had good seasons last year. Hopefully, we can build off of that.”

Clifford becomes the third area boys basketball coach to also serve as a golf coach. He joins Zach Delman (Union Local) and Dave Tallman (Magnolia).

Ryan and his wife, Jenn, have two sons, Kaden (11) and Kolby (9).