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New Middletown athletic director is former pro baseball player, Elizabethtown coach

By Dan Miller, danmiller@pressandjournal.com
Posted 8/9/17

H. Clifford “Cliff” Smith is the new athletic director of Middletown Area School District.

The school board during its Aug. 8 meeting unanimously approved hiring Smith as athletic director …

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New Middletown athletic director is former pro baseball player, Elizabethtown coach

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H. Clifford “Cliff” Smith is the new athletic director of Middletown Area School District.

The school board during its Aug. 8 meeting unanimously approved hiring Smith as athletic director to replace Jeremy King, who asked to be transferred from the former AD/assistant high school principal position to being a business teacher at Middletown Area High School.

King in an interview after the transfer was approved in June told the Press & Journal that he sought the change so he can spend more time with his family.

Smith will be paid $78,856 a year. His first day was Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Smith while introducing himself to the audience at the school board meeting said that he comes from Elizabethtown College, where he spent the last 11 years as the head baseball coach and assistant athletic director.

“I want to thank the board for this opportunity,” Smith said. “I’ve been able to do a lot of things (at Elizabethtown College) and I can’t say how excited I am to be in Middletown.”

Smith was not available for further comment after the meeting.

The school district received 80 applications for the athletic director position, Superintendent Lori Suski said in an email to the Press & Journal. Many of the applicants did not meet the requirements of having either athletic director and/or coaching experience.

Smith was among six candidates interviewed, and was the “unanimous selection” of the interview panel, Suski noted. “He has experience in recruiting coaches and has a solid understanding of the multi-faceted role of the athletic director. Mr. Smith is eager to begin in his new role, and we are pleased that he has joined our team.”

According to an article posted on D3Baseball.com on July 28, 2017, Smith was Elizabethtown College’s second all-time winningest baseball coach, with 254 victories, when he announced that he was stepping down to pursue “a new professional opportunity,” the article said.

He was also quoted in the article as saying the new opportunity would allow Smith to “spend more time at home with my wife and sons.”

Before coming to Elizabethtown College, Smith was an assistant coach at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and an educational technician in the special education department at Mount Ararat High School in Topsham, Maine.

Smith is a 2001 graduate of Brandeis University, earning a bachelor of arts degree in history, according to the Elizabethtown College staff directory.

Smith spent five years as a professional baseball player from 2001 to 2005, according to a bio posted on the directory.

A right-handed pitcher, Smith signed a free agent contract with the now-Los Angeles Angels, and advanced as high as Double A Arkansas in the Angels’ organizational ladder in 2003 and 2004.

The Portland, Maine, native was an inaugural member of the independent Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers in 2005.

Smith capped his playing career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization at Single A Hickory in North Carolina, later in the 2005 season, according to the bio.

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