As Bill Clough’s 30-year career at Coast Union draws to a close this spring, his impressive resume reflects a hands-on commitment to guiding thousands of students as they pursued their academic and athletic interests.
Since being hired in 1985, Clough has worn many hats as coach (football, basketball, golf, softball and junior varsity baseball), teacher, and twice as athletic director — his most recent stint beginning in 2008.
On Monday, April 27, Clough leaned back in his office chair and talked about his years working on the pastoral campus on Santa Rosa Creek Road. He said “It’s just time,” from a financial and personal perspective.
“Thirty years (on the job) at 60 years of age is a big milestone in terms of my pension,” he said. “Also, the district offered a $30,000 early-retirement incentive, so it was hard not to take that into consideration. Things were just lining up for me,” so it was “an ideal time to step down. I’ll miss the school, but it’s time for me to go.”
Clough’s wife, Sara, teaches fourth grade at Grove Elementary School in Los Osos; she plans to retire in three years.
Clough, who played quarterback at Mater Dei High School and Orange Coast Community College, plans to play a lot of golf, “work around the house and travel some.”
Recalling teams and players that stand out in his mind, Clough pointed to the varsity basketball teams — his favorite sport to coach — that he led as head coach in his early years at Coast. He smiles when he remembers the fans who packed the gymnasium to support those teams.
He is also proud of his most recent football coaching experience — in the fall of 2014 — when his team didn’t have a great record but “they always played hard in games and I never had to push them to get to practice. It’s like full circle,” he continued, “I came in as the eight-man coach and I went out as the eight-man coach.”
What advice he would give to the next athletic director? “Love the school, work hard, have fun, help the coaches, enjoy sports, enjoy the job, and be yourself,” Clough replied.
What was the best part of the job for Clough?
“Other than being a coach, it doesn’t get any better than being an athletic director. You get to enjoy all the sports. You get to know the coaches and the kids.”
Because he lives in Los Osos, Clough has been making the 50-mile round-trip trek every weekday during the school year for all those years.
On that issue, he said, “If you had to quiz people as to their commute to work, and you compared theirs with my drive up that coastline looking at the ocean every day, I don’t know that anyone could top my commute.”
In that vein, it would be hard for anyone to equal the number of years.