One of DeKalb County’s top 10 coaches in career victories Bill Cloer died at his home in Athens Nov. 27.
Cloer coached high school football for 23 seasons, with 16 of those at Redan High School from 1980 to 1995.
He put together 10 winnings seasons, three 5-5 seasons and three losing seasons while compiling a 104-69-1 record, which stands 10th all-time on the DeKalb County career victories list. His tenure was the longest for any Redan coach and Redan has only seven other winning seasons over the 42 (1977 to present) years of the program.
His 1985 Raiders team went 11-1-1 overall winning the Region 7-AAAA title with a 24-13 win over Columbia and advancing to the Class AAAA state quarterfinals, where they fell 17-0 on the road at LaGrange. The team was ranked as high as No. 3.
Redan’s defensive coordinator on that 1985 team Tom Clark, who also served as Redan‘s baseball coach from 1984-88, credits Cloer as being one of the biggest influences on his life.
“One of the things about Bill was he didn’t talk much about himself and it took a while to get to know him,” said Clark. “It wasn’t until years later I found out he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.”
Clark was coaching in Michigan and his wife was from the South. She suggested he check on job openings and he found one at Redan, interviewed with Cloer and got the job. He served as the linebacker coach in the fall of 1983 and Cloer gave him the defensive coordinator’s job the following year.
“Bill had a dry sense of humor and before my first game as the DC he told me I was too excitable on the sidelines and not to get him a penalty,” Clark laughed.
“He was very involved, but he let me do the job. I remember working in practice one year and my top pitcher was our quarterback. I was putting in some stunts and Bill looked over at me and said, ‘You might want to quit blitzing your best pitcher.’”
Clark left in 1988 when a college baseball job came his way.
“I loved my time at Redan and working with Bill,” he said. “I learned a lot in football from him [and] I used in my baseball coaching.”
Clark’s assistant baseball coach Greg Goodwin, who took over the baseball program on the recommendation of Clark, would go on to become principal at Redan.
“I worked with Coach Cloer for several years,” said Goodwin. “He did such a great job with the football program due to his attention to detail and organization. He was a stickler for good defense and had some tough hard-nosed teams. He also sent a lot kids on to college.”
Former DeKalb County football coach and Athletics Coordinator Mike Cammack served on Cloer’s staff from 1990-1995 and worked as a scout two years prior while working at then Miller Grove Junior High.
“Bill was a regimented guy. We got on the bus every Friday at 6:01, not 6:02 or 6:00, but 6:01,” Cammack laughed. “We had a 24-period scripted practice every day. We even polished our shoes every Thursday night after practice and Bill didn’t trust anyone else with getting the footballs and he carried them on the bus himself. But even with all his discipline and attention to details he was a fun person to be around.”
Cammack also said he learned a lot from Cloer that he carried over into coaching and life.
“I learned a lot about discipline and football from Bill,” he said. “We would go to a lot of coaches’ clinics and I would hang out with him in meetings that included all the old timers he had known for years. I was just the young guy hanging out in the corner and listening.”
Cloer also coached seven seasons (1973-1979) at Elbert County after serving as an assistant for four seasons.
Cloer was laid to rest Dec. 1 at Oconee Hills Cemetery in Athens.