Stories by Blake Herzog
After 35 years at Yavapai College (YC), Director of Athletics Brad Clifford has resigned, having led the program as it expanded from four NJCAA Division I programs to eight, won numerous conference and regional championships and became widely regarded as one of the top junior college athletic programs in the nation.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for my time as a Roughrider,” he said. “I bleed green and gold, and Yavapai will always have a special place in my heart. This is the correct move for me, personally and professionally, however, YC will always receive my unwavering support in all endeavors.”
His time at the college began as a student in the 1980s, having graduated from Prescott High School and completed a two-year mission overseas. He’d already played basketball so he joined the team there until a back injury cut his playing career short.
Then he was invited to be the assistant coach of the women’s basketball team and discovered his true calling. He continued assistant coaching the women’s and men’s teams until securing the head coaching job for the women’s team in 1996.
Over the next 15 years he coached 58 All-Conference players, 11 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Kodak All-Americans, six National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Americans, three Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) freshmen of the year and three ACCAC players of the year. He was YC’s most successful basketball coach with a 323-143 record, earning WBCA Region I Coach of the Year honors twice.
Stage budget cuts led to the elimination of both basketball teams in 2011. Clifford was named assistant athletic director in 2012 and promoted to the director job after five months. He added four sports to the college’s portfolio, including soccer, esports and the long-awaited return of men’s and women’s basketball last year. He was also inducted into the Roughrider Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022.
“Brad has been an integral part of Roughrider athletics for nearly four decades. He has served as a leader and mentor for hundreds of student-athletes, coaches, and the College community and I thank him for his unwavering dedication and passion to the College and its athletic programs,” said Rodney Jenkins, Vice President of Community Relations and Student Development.