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Sonora High Has A New Head Football Coach

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Sonora, CA – Sonora High School has a new head football coach who has already been on the team for nearly 16 years.

At its Monday meeting, the school board approved the promotion of the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator, Kirk Clifton, to the head coach position. He takes over for Coach Bryan Craig, who retired at the end of last season with the record of the winningest coach in the school’s history at 109 wins and 50 losses, as earlier reported here. Sonora High Superintendent Ed Pelfrey explained that staff conducted interviews with candidates and recommended Clifton for the job. Pelfrey agreed and took that endorsement to the school board.

“Kirk’s deep connections to the community, his understanding of the school’s legacy in football, and his vision for the future make him an outstanding selection to carry forward Sonora High’s proud athletic tradition.” Stated Pelfrey. “Kirk’s been an integral part of the Wildcats’ success, and his promotion to head coach ensures continuity in our football program’s philosophy and strategies, while also promising the new things he can bring to the program as well.”

Clifton is no stranger to Wildcat football, as he played for the team in the late 1980s as a running back. In 2009, he returned to the school, this time as part of the coaching staff when Coach Craig was hired. So, Clifton is no stranger to the players, whom Pelfrey says cheered his hiring.

“The players are excited to have Coach Clifton, and it reaffirms Sonora High School’s commitment to excellence, to community, and to developing talent within our own community,” noted Pelfrey. “Kirk’s philosophy aligns with the district philosophy, preparing every student for success by cultivating personal excellence. It’s about emphasizing, which I think Kirk does, hard work, resiliency, and that pursuit of excellence.”

Clifton’s promotion and Craig’s departure have left several positions open, including offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and linebackers coach. With the school board’s approval, Pelfrey says Clifton will need to fill those positions. Clifton takes over the head coach position immediately.