JWU Denver hires Andrew Clifton as new head volleyball coach

JWU Denver hires Andrew Clifton as new head volleyball coach

DENVER – Director of Athletics Dr. Greg Waggoner is proud to announce that Andrew Clifton has been named the new head volleyball coach at Johnson & Wales University-Denver.  

Clifton has six years of collegiate head coaching experience and has been involved in the profession for more than two decades, going back to when he was a Division I student-athlete with the UC Irvine men's volleyball team.

"We are very pleased to have Andrew lead our volleyball program through the next chapter of our NCAA D-III experience," Waggoner said. "Andrew embodies all of the JWU and NCAA D-III values and philosophies. He is an experienced coach that has demonstrated his ability to develop a culture that is competitive and enhances the overall experience for the student-athletes. The future of JWU Volleyball is bright!"

"I am honored and excited for this opportunity to lead the Wildcats volleyball program," Clifton said. "I cannot thank Greg Waggoner and the hiring committee enough for believing in my vision and ability to grow this program. I cannot wait to get going and start practice with the team."

Clifton most recently spent four years (2016-19) as the head coach at Oregon Tech in Klamath Falls, Ore., a member of the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC), one of the top NAIA volleyball conferences in the country. Clifton prioritized academic success and team culture, as the Hustlin' Owls had a 100 percent graduation rate and a cumulative GPA of 3.4 over the past four seasons.

The Owls had 20-plus CCC and NAIA Academic All-Americans under Clifton's watch and garnered a Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District First-Team selection. The Owls also had eight CCC player of the week honors and three all-conference selections during Clifton's tenure.

With an emphasis on building a strong team culture, Clifton introduced several program initiatives, including "Honor Your Professor Night" and Tech Volleyball's first-ever team camp. The Owls set team records for attendance in two of his four years at the helm while also setting high standards for fundraising and community service outreach.

Clifton began his head coaching career at Mt. Hood Community College (2014-16), where 90 percent of graduating sophomores transferred to the next level. Clifton coached two first-team all-conference performers with the Saints and had six student-athletes named to the conference's all-star team during his first season. Clifton also served as an athletic and general student academic advisor at Mt. Hood, providing students with guidance on declaring majors, staying on track to graduate and serving as the athletic department's compliance officer.

Clifton earned his bachelor's degree in studio art from UC Irvine while competing for the Anteaters' Division I men's volleyball team from 1997-99. He earned the NCAA's Academic Athlete Award in 1998 and 1999. Clifton earned a master's degree in education from National University (Costa Mesa, Calif.) in 2008 and began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Long Beach City College in 2006. He also spent time as an assistant at Hope International University (2010-11), Cal State Monterey Bay (2011-13) and the University of Portland (2013-14).

Clifton is expected to start at JWU Denver in early June.

A native of Long Beach, Calif., and member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), Clifton also has significant club coaching experience as a director, lead coach and club president.