Coastal Carolina head coach Cliff Ellis has called it a career, announcing on Wednesday his retirement after 16+ years at the school and 55 years in the profession. The 78-year old has 831 career Division I victories, getting his final one on Monday night over St. Andrew’s.
“I planned to retire at the end of the season,” Ellis said, “but in fairness to my players and my coaching staff, I wanted all of them, but especially the staff, to have a chance to show what they are made of. This is a team that has good players, and this is a good coaching staff. I thank Coastal Carolina for giving me the opportunity 17 years ago to come to this wonderful place. It has been an invigorating experience to participate in the growth and impact that this university makes.”
Ellis has prior head coaching stints at South Alabama (1975-84), Clemson (1984-94) and Auburn (1994-2004) before coming to Conway in 2007. He has gone to the NCAA Tournament nine times, most recently in 2015, and won a total of eight conference regular season titles.
He had been the oldest active Division I men’s head coach, turning 78 on Tuesday, and had the most wins overall and in D-I (he also won 78 games earlier in his career at NAIA Cumberland (TN)). Fellow Sun Belt coach Dan D’Antoni takes over as oldest active head coach at 76.
“Coach Ellis’ impact and guidance of our program are indelible,” AD Matt Hogue said in a statement. “He has been an ambassador for our University, always coached with decorum and fostered opportunities for countless young people through basketball. His success and the records set at CCU will be hard to emulate. We wish Coach, Carolyn and the Ellis family all the best in their next chapter and they know they are forever a part of the Chanticleer family.”
Associate head coach Benny Moss will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Moss has been with the Coastal program since 2011 and previously spent four years (2006-10) as the head coach at UNC Wilmington, going 41-74 overall. He is originally from Winston-Salem, NC and played collegiately at Charlotte and Pfeiffer (NC).
The 3-5 Chants host Wofford on Saturday, then have two more non-conference games before kicking off Sun Belt play on December 30th.
credit to Coastal Carolina Athletics for the image