Jim Clift begins his fourth 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 2014, Clift had a pair of freshmen, Courtney Price and Kara Salvo, named not on to the Southern Conference All-Conference Team but also the All-Freshmen team. Also in 2014, junior Taylor Sigmon was named to theCapital One Academic All-District III First Team and ended the year ranked fourth in the nation for saves with six. In 2013, Clift led the Catamounts to its first win in the Southern Conference tournament since 2007. Also, then senior Haley Pace was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District III First Team, becoming the first player in Catamount softball's eight-year history to be named to the academic all-district 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 began his softball coaching career in 1997 and has coached at every level including travel ball, high school and college. Clift has coached over 30 teams in his softball coaching career. 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. 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.