Jim Clift begins his second season as the head coach of Western Carolina softball. He became the third head coach in Western Carolina softball history, taking over in the summer of 2011. Prior to taking over the head coaching position, he spent two seasons as the assistant coach for the Catamount softball team.
In his first year, in 2012, Clift led the team to its best overall record since 2007 and highest seed in the Southern Conference, a sixth seed, also since 2007. He helped guide senior outfielder Erin Foster to be selected to the NFCA First Team MidEast All-Region team, a first for Catamount softball. Under Clift's watch, Foster was also a Southern Conference First Team selection and and ranked 19th in the nation in homeruns for a season with 18.
Clift served as head softball coach at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (2004-2009) where he led the school to league titles in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Under Clift, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace was a play-off participant each year as he compiled a record of 102-52.
Clift was a 26-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department. While on the SDPD, Clift was on SWAT for 23 years, the last 20 of which he was a member of the full-time hostage rescue unit, the Special Response Team (SRT). As a member of SRT, Clift served as a lead SWAT instructor for over 20 years.
Clift began his softball coaching career in 1997 and has coached at every level winning All-Star district, regional and national championships. As a travel softball coach, with Xtreme Softball Inc. in California, Clift has coached teams at the 14U, 16U and 18U levels. Clift has coached over 30 teams in his softball coaching career.
A 1992 graduate of San Diego State University in Sociology and Public Administration, Clift went on to earn his Master's Degree from the Texas Woman's University in Kinesiology in 2007. He also received his 4-star Master Coach Certification from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) in 2006.
Clift, a native of San Diego, California resides in Cullowhee with his wife, Eileen. Clift's oldest daughter, Andrea earned her Master's Degree in 2011 at New York University and is currently working in New York City. Clift's youngest daughter, Sofia, is a senior at San Diego State University.