Clemens to rejoin coaching ranks

Former Gael coach takes Colfax-Mingo job

COLFAX — With his military career winding down after 31-plus years, Jeff Clemens felt an old itch start to return.

Clemens, who coached the St. Edmond girls basketball program from 1998-2003, has been hired as the new girls coach at Colfax-Mingo.

“I decided over a year ago that I wanted to coach again,” Clemens said. “I initially was looking to move back to Colorado, but we are currently comfortable in Altoona, so I was looking to coach again somewhere in the metro or in one of the communities nearby (Colfax is 12 minutes away).”

Despite not having coached since 2003, Clemens has maintained his certification and recently became certified to teach, as well.

“I will be substituting at Bondurant-Farrar and hope to do some at Colfax-Mingo, as well,” he said. “I plan to substitute 7-to-8 days a month with a major focus on building a highly successful girls basketball program at Colfax-Mingo.”

While at St. Edmond, Clemens posted an overall record of 77-38, including the school’s first-ever North Central Conference championship regardless of sport. The Gaels won 15-plus games for four consecutive seasons and were district champions four years running.

In 1999-2000, Clemens led St. Edmond to a 19-4 record overall, including a 15-3 first place finish in the NCC.

Along with his time at SEHS, Clemens also coached at Storm Lake St. Mary’s under veteran Gael coach Pat O’Rourke and went 31-10 at Earlham with sectional and regional titles in 1983-84.

“The bottom line is the (Colfax-Mingo) community is a right fit for me to scratch my itch of coaching again,” said Clemens, who is 108-48 in his career. “I see the game changing as kids seem less skilled in the fundamentals. I was fortunate to have some outstanding athletes at Earlham and St. Edmond, and I also had some outstanding assistant coaches at St. Edmond in Scott Messerly, Aaron McKinney and Craig Carlson.”

The Tigerhawks went 7-15 a year ago and return leading scorer Payton Rhone, who averaged 12.5 points and made 67 three-pointers. Rhone, Jordan Atwood and Camilla Schlosser are all seniors-to-be.

“I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time,” Clemens said. “I’m looking forward to building this program into a consistent winner each year. We have six incoming seniors, two juniors and seven sophomores returning.”

Colfax-Mingo is part of the South Iowa Cedar League and competes in Class 2A.

Clemens is also looking forward to working with Zach Tomas and Erin Hume, who are co-athletic directors at Colfax-Mingo.

“(Tomas and Hume) have a great vision for athletics,” he said. “The school has tremendous parental support and have been successful in volleyball, cross country, wrestling, golf and track. There is a plan for an expansion of facilities in the future, which is also a plus.”