|Macon native Tim Clifton will begin his 25th season as the football head coach at Mars Hill University and his 41st overall in the coaching ranks this fall. During his almost a quarter of a century as the Lions’ head coach, he has compiled a 130-123 record with 16 of his previous 24 teams posting winning season records. He holds the Mars Hill record for most wins by a head coach. He is the second all-time winningest coach in the South Atlantic Conference and is also second in all-time conference wins. He was named conference coach of the Year in 2011 after leading Mars Hills to a conference championship and the program’s first spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Prior to taking the job at Mars Hills, Clifton, coached for five years in high school and also spent time in college football as an assistant at South Carolina, VMI, Fayetteville State and Ferrum College.
Clifton’s Macon roots are deep. He played his first two years of high school sports at Willingham before transferring to Stratford Academy as a junior. While with the Eagles, he was the starting quarterback on the 1970 state football championship team, and he was the starting point guard on the Eagles’ 1971 state basketball title team and the starting shortstop on the 1972 baseball champion team. He still holds the Stratford record for a pass interception for a touchdown of 103 yards, and he had a .338 batting average as a baseball player. A charter member of the Stratford Hall of Fame, he was named the Best Boys Senior Athlete at the school his senior season in 1972.
After finishing at Stratford he went on to Mercer University where he was a four-year starter at second base for legendary Bears head coach Claude Smith.