Clifford S. Lewis, known to most as “Cliff” or “Coach,” was born in Brewton, Alabama, in 1956. His mother taught in the public school system for 34 years. His father, also an educator, held the role of assistant superintendent of schools for the Brunswick County School District in Southport, North Carolina. His father retired as a command sergeant major after serving in the U.S Army for 20 years as an 82nd airborne paratrooper.
Cliff grew up in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where he attended public schools. An outstanding linebacker at Fort Walton Beach High School, Lewis went on to become a standout at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is credited with being the onfield inspiration for the famed “Nasty Bunch” defense. He was inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
After graduation from Southern Mississippi, Cliff was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, where he spent four years as an outside linebacker. After his playing days, Cliff enjoyed a 16-year college coaching career. Coaching stops included Georgia Southern, Southern Mississippi and Southern University. In 2003, Lewis was the defensive coordinator for Southern University’s Historical Black College National Championship team.
In 2005, Cliff left the field but not his commitment to developing the hearts and minds of young people. After two years in the private sector, he followed his mother’s advice and moved to education. For the past 15 years, Cliff has worked as a parental engagement coordinator in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.
2023 finds Cliff Lewis committed to a greater cause: the families and students of the EBRPSS.
Cliff calls Baton Rouge home, but he still loves the laid-back lifestyle of growing up on the beautiful beaches of northwest Florida. He is married to former EBR Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis. They are the parents of three adult children and 10 grandchildren, who attended and continue to attend public schools in EBR. Cliff and Donna are also the proud great-grandparents of three.