Cliff Ellis

Cliff Ellis (born December 5, 1945)

Teams coached: Cumberland Bulldogs, South Alabama Jaguars, Clemson Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Cumberland (TN) record: 78-12 (.867)
South Alabama record: 171-84 (.671)
Clemson record: 177-128 (.580) **
Auburn record: 186-125 (.598)
Coastal Carolina record: 297-228 (.566)
Overall record^: 909-577 (.612) **

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2007-2023 Coastal Carolina
1994-2004 Auburn
1984-1994 Clemson
1975-1984 South Alabama
1972-1975 Cumberland (TN)

Cliff Ellis Facts

  • Robert Clifford Ellis
  • Born December 5, 1945
  • Hometown: Marianna, Florida
  • Alma Mater: Florida State University (BA, 1968) / Middle Tennessee State University (M.Ed, 1972)
  • Started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Ruckel Junior High and Niceville High School, both in Niceville, FL
  • Was head coach at Vanguard HS in Ocala, FL for one season (1971-72)
  • First collegiate stop was as head coach and AD at NAIA Cumberland (TN) for 3 seasons, compiling an overall record of 78-12
  • Became a Division I head coach in 1975, taking over at South Alabama where we would win 171 games in eight seasons
  • Left to take over as the head coach at Clemson in 1984, winning 177 games at ten seasons as the Tigers’ head coach
    • Went to five NITs and three NCAA Tournaments, though their 1990 Sweet Sixteen appearance was later vacated due an ineligible player
  • Took over as the Auburn head coach in 1994, coaching those Tigers for ten seasons and winning 186 games there
    • Appeared in three NCAA Tournaments (two Sweet Sixteens) and four NITs during his Auburn tenure
    • Fired following the 2003-04 season and was out of coaching for several years
  • Hired in July 2007 to be the head basketball coach at Coastal Carolina, a position he held for 16+ seasons
    • Has led the Chanticleers to the postseason ten times (including two NCAA Tournaments and two NITs)
    • Won 20+ games six times during his sixteen seasons at the helm
    • Finished as the Runner-up in the CBI in both 2017 and 2021 and the TBC in 2022
  • Announced his retirement from coaching in December 2023, the day after his 78th birthday, following a 55-year coaching career

Cliff Ellis Coaching Tree


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at both the NCAA Division I and NAIA levels

** Listed records and accomplishments for this coach do not include wins or appearances later vacated by the NCAA