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Macomb County Coaches HOF inductee Barry Clements

  • Barry Clements

The Macomb County Coaches Hall of Fame will welcome its newest members at a ceremony on April 27 at Wyndham Garden, 15 Mile and Van Dyke, Sterling Heights. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Barry Clements

The hidden ball trick?

Not exactly, but Barry Clements still chuckles about a play that occurred when he was coaching seventh grade football at Bemis Junior High.

Clements led that program for 40 years. His first season was in 1974 and he compiled a record of 157-61-16 during that time.

"I remember a game at Malow Junior High," began Clements. "It was one of those cold windy November days. We punted with the wind at our back to Malow's 20-yard line. I sent in the defense and told the outside linebacker that Malow was going to throw a pass in his direction.

"I told him that the wind would hold the ball up and that he could jump the route, intercept the pass and run it in for a touchdown. As luck would have it, Malow threw the pass in his direction, he intercepted the pass and ran it in for a touchdown," continued Clements.

"He was so excited he ran all the way back to me on the sidelines to tell me that it happened just the way I told him it would. I said that's great, I'm glad you are so happy, but maybe you should give the ball back to the officials for the extra point. The smile and joy on his face was great."

Clements' teams won the league championship 13 times during his career. Winning was hardly paramount in his mind, though.

"I really enjoyed working with students outside of the classroom," he said. "Teaching them the right way to play the game of football; that you follow the rules even if the other team doesn't. Making sure they understand the value of hard work, both in the classroom and on the field. I have always told them ‘You are student-athletes, notice which one comes first.'

"Lastly, teaching them the importance of sportsmanship. After each game win or lose, we shake their hands and tell them ‘nice game.' After each home game we treat the other team to a snack before they get on their bus for their ride home," said Clements.

Former Bemis Junior High principal Joyce A. Spade, who has retired, had this assessment of the school's veteran football coach:

"A great coach will teach the skills, dedication to practice, and specialties of their sport to all of their players. Barry Clements did this with excellence and caring. In addition, he always guided students into knowing their academic work and behavior was as important as their football playing. His contacts with parents and comments about each player every Sports Award Night was always well done and built confidence youth athletes need and deserve," said Spade. "He is respected as an exemplary educator, compassionate leader, and a truly great football coach.

“While Barry also recently retired, please note that Barry has been a valued mentor all 40 years to many young assistant coaches on our school's staff," continued Smith.

Clements also coached swimming at Ford High School.

Last Updated: 4/20/2017 5:06:25 PM EST