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Football
Tim Clifton

Tim Clifton

  Head Coach
  E-mail: [email protected]
  Office Phone: 828-689-1375

 Tim Clifton is entering his 20th season at Mars Hill College. Clifton has led the Lions to eight winning seasons including the SAC title and the Lions first NCAA post season appearance in 2011. For his efforts guiding the Lions in 2011, Clifton was named the SAC Coach of the Year. He has a career record at Mars Hill of 106-94-0. The 106 wins place Clifton third in all-time wins of all SAC head coaches. He has recorded 60 conference victories and 106 overall victories that place him second in those categories among all-time SAC head coaches. During the 2003 season Clifton broke the school’s record for most wins by a head football coach. He surpassed Claude Gibson (1973-82) who ended his career with an overall record of 55-37-2 (.585).

 Under Clifton’s direction, the Lion offense has exploded breaking several single season offensive school records such as longest run from scrimmage (94 yards by senior Leon Williams), most PAT’s scored (37) most rushing yards gained (3,130), most total offensive yards (4,803), most first downs (250), and most points scored (327).
 Clifton came to Mars Hill from Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia, where he had been the offensive coordinator since 1987. During Clifton’s tenure, Ferrum went to four straight NCAA Division III playoffs. In the 1988-89 school year, Ferrum was a national semifinalist.
 Under Clifton’s direction the Lions have set many individual records. Jonas Randolph rewrote the school and SAC record books.

He became the South Atlantic Conference’s career rushing leader with 5,608 yards and led all NCAA divisions this season in rushing yards per game (197.27). The SAC Offensive Player of the Year, Randolph’s 2,170 yards in 2011 also set new SAC and school marks. He also had six games of 200 or more rushing yards and nine games of over 100 rushing yards this season. He is a three-time first team All-Super Region 2 honoree and was the Super Region 2 Offensive Player of the Year this season. Randolph finished the year with 2,170 yards rushing on a Division II-leading 366 carries and scored 18 touchdowns. He averaged more than 37 yards per game more than the next closest Division II rusher. Randolph has also been named an AFCA All-American, Daktronics All-American, AP Little All-American and a USA College Sports All-American. Prior to Randolph’s era, Leon Williams was the all-time leading career rusher at Mars Hill recording 2,849 yards (1993-96) and then Travis McFadden (2000-03) surpassed his numbers in 2002 reaching 2,859 career yards. Terrance Stokes became the school’s single game rusher with 252 yards against Wingate University (2000) and the school’s single season rusher with 1,558 yards in 2000. Antione Jones later surpassed Stokes single-game performance with a 322-yard effort against Lenoir-Rhyne in 2005. Jon Richt has set new school marks in attempts in a season (290), completions in a game (28), yards passing in a single season (2,238), and touchdowns in a game (5), season (20) and career (44). Ashley Abernathy set school records in 1993 for most yards passing in a season (1,967) and total yards in a career (6,820). During the 1999 season, Khalid Abdullah recorded a game best five sacks against the University of Virginia’s College at Wise as well as a season high 15 sacks in 2000. Toy Williams tied the school record of three interceptions against Lenoir-Rhyne College. During the 2001 season Maurice Jackson picked off nine interceptions that broke the existing school record held by Kevin Barnette and Abdullah set a new mark for the longest interception return of 100 yards on two occasions.

 Clifton has had the privilege of coaching 73 All-Conference Honor Roll players, 83 All-SAC performers, seven SAC Freshmen of the Year, and four SAC Players of the Year in Mike Belk (LB), Terrance Stokes (RB), Khalid Abdullah (LB) and Jonas Randolph (RB). Clifton has also been fortunate to coach seven All-Americans. Terrance Stokes was selected an American Football Coaches Association All-American, Mike Belk was a third team All-American in 1995 and David Cassell, Toy Williams and Khalid Abdullah were named All-Americans by USA Football.com and D2Football.com, two Division II Internet sites. Cassell was also named an AFCA All-American for his performances during the 2001 campaign while Abdullah received the honor in 2002. After his stellar career at Mars Hill, Abdullah was the first pick in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Lions sent another player to the NFL when cornerback Michael Grant signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. Jonas Randolph was a three-time AFCA All-American and the 2011 NCAA Player of the Year.

 Clifton, a veteran of 29 years, spent five years on the high school level before entering the collegiate ranks. Since joining the college ranks, Clifton has made stops at the University of South Carolina, Virginia Military Institute, Fayetteville State University, and Ferrum College.

 Clifton graduated from Mercer University in 1976. Clifton and his wife Joy met while they were in school together and were married in 1977. They have two children: Myriah, age 21, a graduate of Mars Hill College and Cody, age 20, a junior at Mars Hill College. The family makes their home in Mars Hill.


Jonathan Sarratt

Jonathan Sarratt

  Offensive Coordinator/RB's/QB's Coach
  E-mail: [email protected]
  Office Phone: 828-689-1372

Jonathan is beginning his 14th year as a member of the Lions’ coaching staff. He returns to the Lions staff after previously coaching the wide receivers at The Citadel in 2003. He first came to Mars Hill from the University of West Alabama where he coached running backs, wide receivers, kickers and punters. Before West Alabama, Jonathan was a graduate assistant at Clemson University helping the Tigers with the outside linebackers and defensive line. He was also an offensive quality control analyst at Clemson. He holds a Bachelors degree in Secondary Education and a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. Both degrees are from Clemson University.


Tom Weaver

Tom Weaver

  Linebackers Coach
  E-mail: [email protected]
  Office Phone: 828-689-1175

Tom is beginning his 14th year with the Lions. He coached the Lions’ wide receivers in 1988 and then supervised the linebackers and special teams from 1989-94. Weaver attended Appalachian State University and graduated in 1971 with a B.S. in Physical Education. He began his teaching and coaching career at Enka High School in 1971. He then taught and coached at North Buncombe High School for 17 years where he spent the last five of those years as the school’s athletic director and head football coach. During his first stint at MHC, Weaver earned a M.S. degree in Physical Education from Western Carolina University. After seven years at MHC, Weaver went to Erwin High School and coached football and wrestling for eight years helping Erwin end the longest losing streak in the state and was part of winning a conference championship with two playoff appearances. Weaver then went to Tuscola High School in 2003 and was part of returning that program to a winner with two playoff appearances and 17 wins in two seasons. He and his wife Penny (a MHC graduate), live in Weaverville. His daughter Megan graduated from Mars Hill College in may of 2011 and his son Matthew is a financial analyst at Borg-Warner.


Chuck Phifer

Chuck Phifer

  Defensive Line Coach
  E-mail: [email protected]
  Office Phone: 828-689-1374

Chuck Phifer is in his 20th year of coaching for the Lions’ defensive line. Phifer is a 1991 graduate of Appalachian State University, where he was a four-year letterman and three-year starter as a defensive lineman. During his career as a Mountaineer, Phifer was a two-time All-Southern Conference Defensive End and served as the team’s Captain in 1990. After his college career, Phifer played in the Arena Football League for the Charlotte Rage for two seasons and the Albany Firebirds for one year.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting and Public Relations with a minor in Marketing from Appalachian State in 1991. Phifer is also a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Phifer is single and resides in Mars Hill.


Kevin Barnette

Kevin Barnette

  Defensive Coordinator/Asst. Head Coach
  E-mail: [email protected]
  Office Phone: 828-689-1423

Currently the senior member of the Lions’ coaching staff, Kevin Barnette has been on the staff of his Alma mater for 24 years as the defensive coordinator. He returned to his Alma mater in 1988 after coaching at Wingate University, in Monroe, North Carolina.

A four-year letter winner for the Lions, Barnette was twice named to the All-South Atlantic Conference team and was named second team All-American by the NAIA in 1984. A two-time All-District 26 selection, Barnette held the school record for most interceptions in a season (8), and still holds the record for the most interceptions in a game (3). He also received All-Conference academic honors in 1984.

Following graduation, Barnette took a job coaching football at Asheville Junior High School. He served as the defensive coordinator and also coached the wrestling team. He was also on the faculty of the physical education department. In 1987, Barnette moved to Wingate University where he was the defensive line coach for one season. The following year he went to Forest Hills High School as the defensive coordinator and taught in the physical education department. In 1988, Barnette came to Mars Hill as the defensive backfield coach. After one season he was named the defensive coordinator.

Barnette holds a master’s degree in Sports Science from the United States Sports Academy. He is also a member of the physical education department faculty. Barnette is married to the former Recy Coleman and they have two sons, Elisha and Nehemiah and one daughter Anna. The family resides in Mars Hill.


Ricky Spradling

Ricky Spradling

  Wide receivers Coach/Video Coordinator
  E-mail: [email protected]
  Office Phone: 828-689-1175

Ricky is beginning his first year on the Lions' football coaching staff. He will coach the wide reciver corps and handle all the video responsibilities. He had a stellar career as a quarterback for the Lions from 2005-2009. After graduation, Ricky served as defensive quality control for former Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bruce Fowler, now the head coach at Furman.  He specialized in helping cornerbacks.

During his tenure at Furman, Ricky worked with Ryan Steed, an All-American cornerback, who was signed by the New York Jets as undrafted free agent. In 2011 Ricky helped coach a defense that beat no. 3 Appalachian State University and no. 5 Wofford College.

Ricky graduated with a degree in sport management and a minor business from Mars Hill in 2009. He is single and resides in Asheville.


Mac McMillan

Mac McMillan

  Offensive Line Coach
  E-mail: [email protected]
  Office Phone: 828-689-1371

Mac is beginning his first year as a member of the Lions’ coaching staff. He comes to the Lions staff after previously coaching 17 years of high school football in the state of Georgia (5 of those years as Head Football Coach at Pike County High School in Zebulon, Ga.). He holds a Bachelors degree in Physical Education from Mars Hill College, a master’s degree in Physical Education from Jacksonville State University and an Ed. S. in Administration from Lincoln Memorial University. Mac and his wife Pam have three children (daughter Drew age 11, sons Nic age 9 and Brody age 6).