One Of The Best Coaches, Clifford Kirk - And Response

  • Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Recently, I picked-up a copy of our local gazette while waiting for a tire repair. Inside the Sports section was a list of coaches in our area that had won multiple state championships and had built great programs. No doubt, these guys are the real deal. I know most of them and they are well deserving of any honor bestowed upon them. To describe the hard work that goes into these programs is next to impossible.

There was one name left out of the mix, Clifford Kirk. Clifford won several state championships, mostly while at Soddy-Daisy.

Clifford coached at Lookout Valley, Hixson, Soddy-Daisy and Sale Creek. In total, he won at least 12 state championships at these schools in softball, with the exception of Sale Creek, whom he took to the state finals. I am not sure of the exact number of state championships he won, but the people who coached against him will know for sure.

Clifford has passed away, but lots of people remember him as one of the best in the state, if not the best.

Thanks for the memories, Clifford.

Ernie McCarson

* * *

Thank you, Ernie, for honoring Clifford Kirk in your writing. During my years as principal of Soddy-Daisy Middle and Sale Creek Middle High, I had the privilege of working with Coach Kirk. Although he had a "No Nonsense" approach to the game, it was obvious that he loved his players. He was super competitive and hard working.

I hired Clifford to coach the Lady Panthers Softball team during my first year there, and I will always remember his first meeting with his players. Sale Creek had won only two games the previous year with the minimum of nine players on the roster. As Clifford paced back and forth in front of some inexperienced, nervous young ladies, he made this bold statement, "I didn't come here because I needed a job. I came here to win a state championship, and if that's not your goal, there's the door." 

That year, the Lady Panthers reached the sub-state, and later, he led them to the state tournament finishing as high as second place.

Clifford Kirk deserves to at least be in the conversation as one of the best to ever grace a coaching box.

Thanks Coach Kirk. You are greatly missed.

Tobin Davidson  

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