Legendary softball coach Clifford Kirk retires at Soddy-Daisy - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Legendary softball coach Clifford Kirk retires at Soddy-Daisy

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Photo courtesy of our media partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press Photo courtesy of our media partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press

SODDY-DAISY, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Soddy-Daisy High School lost a state championship coach last month with wrestling coach Steve Henry stepped down to pursue a job in administration.

It lost another one Wednesday.

Legendary softball coach Clifford Kirk is retiring after a 26-year career in the Chattanooga area. He made the announcement less than a week after winning his tenth state championship.

Kirk said that Wes Skiles, who has served as Soddy-Daisy's top assistant the past five years, will take over as head coach.

"It really was a tough decision. I've enjoyed it so much," said the 74-year-old Kirk. "I've been doing this as a head coach since 1987, but I'm not getting any younger.

"I figured it'd be a good time to go when I can have a title at both ends it."

Kirk took his first head coaching position at Hixson High in 1987, and led the Wildcats to the state title in each of his first two years. In 1990 he made the jump to nearby Soddy-Daisy, where he won eight more state titles.

His Lady Trojans have been the best team in the state over the past three years, sandwiching a Class AAA runner-up finish between state titles in 2010 and 2012. Soddy-Daisy finished 46-5 in his final season, earning a spot in the ESPN Rise national prep softball rankings for a third straight year.

"In 25-plus years I can think of a lot of things I can remember, but what I'll remember most are the kids," Kirk said. "I've been fortunate that I've had some good kids to come and play for me, and they put in hard work.

"To have a good team and accomplish the things we did, people have to put in the work and buy into what you want them to do to be a championship team."

Kirk also serves as the middle school softball coach, and said he would remain in that position for one more season amidst staffing turn-over at the school.

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