Cliff Purcell

Cliff Purcell, Hall of Fame Coach

Cliff Purcell, Hall of Fame Coach

Fifty years ago, as a student teacher in 1958, Cliff Purcell began his coaching career as a varsity football assistant at Carpinteria High School. He was hired as a full-time teacher and coach the following year and embarked on a career that would span parts of the next four decades.

Coach Purcell left Carpinteria to attend graduate school at USC, where he earned a master’s degree in counseling and guidance. In 1976, Purcell returned to coaching the varsity boys’ and girls’ cross country and track teams at San Marcos. His girls team won the Channel League championship two years in a row. Each team he coached, beginning in 1959, in football, basketball and track at both Carpinteria and San Marcos High Schools enjoyed winning records.

In the Spring of 1991, Purcell took over a struggling San Marcos boys’ golf team which posted a 0-18 record the year before. Within three years, the San Marcos golf program began a string of victories which resulted in six consecutive Channel League championships and a 75-1 League record. San Marcos also won a number ofprestigious tournaments throughout California, setting the scoring record for the Joe Berry Jr. Masters in Northern California. The Royals won the CIF championship in 1997 and were runners up that year in the SCGA State Championship. In 1999 San Marcos, under Purcell’s direction, won the CIF and the State Championships. During this period the Royals had a won-loss record of 233-36 – close to 85 percent – which included post season playoffs and tournaments.

Purcell was selected as Channel League Coach ofthe Year twice, and in 1999 was chosen by The California Coaches Association as The California State High School Golf Coach of the Year.
When asked about his proudest achievement, Purcell reflects that “Winning league championships and CIF and State championships and seeing many of our athletes go on to Division 1 schools are sources of great pride. However, I am most proud of seeing the hundreds of young men and women with whom I have had contact go on to become successful and productive citizens of our community.”

Since his retirement, Purcell has stayed active as a member of the UCSB golf committee and has been an official at CIF post-season championships . In 2005 he and his wife Jan and daughter Jean ran the Larry Crandell Golf Classic, which honored Crandell for his many years of service to the local sporting conununity and was a benefit for the Santa Barbara High Boys and Girls basketball team on which his granddaughter, Jackie Hingsen played. He has also had the pleasure o f working with his grandson, Scott Bradford who is a varsity golfer at San Marcos.

Cliff has stated that of all recognition that his teams and he may have received, he is most proud of his induction into the SBART Hall of Fame.