Athens, GA - Georgia’s track and field program has added George Cleare to its coaching staff as the 2011 season approaches, according to an announcement from Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton.
Cleare, 36, will be responsible for the women’s sprints, relays, jumps, hurdles and combined events when the indoor season begins in January.
A native of Nassau, Bahamas, Cleare brings a wealth of international coaching experience to Georgia’s staff after having been an assistant coach of the Bahamas national team.
He has also helped guide other standouts such as Bahamas native Debbie Ferguson, who was a four-time NCAA champion and 20-time All-American while attending Georgia in the late 1990s, to notable finishes in top-level meets across the world.
“His background is ideal for what I have in mind for this new position,” said Norton. “He has earned a reputation as a coach who recognizes athletic talent and also develops athletic talent. George comes to the University of Georgia highly recommended by several knowledgeable people within the track and field community. He will be a very successful coach who will be very committed to the track program and Georgia. The hiring process took a few months to complete but we have hired the right person for the job.”
“I was impressed with the high standards that Coach Norton has for the track and field program and it is the kind of program that one would be proud to be a part of,” said Cleare, who arrived in Athens this week. “The fact that UGA has a history with Bahamian athletes - Debbie Ferguson being the most outstanding - was another attractive scenario for me.”
Cleare also spoke about his goals as he joins the program.
“My short-term goals will be to settle in and make immediate contributions to the program, and help improve the performances of the athletes presently on the roster,” Cleare said. “I want to learn as much as possible from the talented and capable coaches presently on staff. Long-term goals include recruitment of athletes both from across America and throughout the Caribbean. This will be followed by developing as many nationally-ranked athletes as possible and hopefully bringing a few national championships to the University of Georgia.”
“For me, the opportunity to coach at Georgia is one that will allow myself as a coach to be mentored and polished by some of the best coaches in the business. I plan on gaining as much knowledge as possible and to continue to strengthen the UGA coaching staff.”
Most recently, Cleare has held leading posts in a variety of organizations. He has been the women’s national relay team co-coordinator for the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations and directed (Level I) IAAF Coaches Education and Certification System courses.
He has also maintained his role as the head coach and president of the Bahamas Speed Dynamics Track and Field Club and Mentoring Program. Cleare planned athletic training schedules and models and organized after-school programs for the youth while leading this program.
In addition, Cleare has served as the Deputy Director of Search Bahamas since 2004. This program focuses on creating scholarship opportunities for student-athletes preparing for the NCAA clearinghouse.
The 2003 National Coach for the Bahamas, Cleare was the National Relay Coordinator and relay coach at the Penn Relays, Carifta Games, CAC Championships, World Youth Championships and World Championships in 2009. He also had the same role for the World Junior Championships in 2008.
Also on his resume, he was either the head coach or an assistant coach at the Carifta Games in 2003, 2004 and 2006 and served as the President of the Bahamas Coaches Association from 2003-04.
Four Olympians from the last three Olympic Games have worked with Cleare. Ferguson, winner of three Olympic medals and one of the newest additions to Georgia’s Circle of Honor for her academic and athletic success during and since college, highlights this group. Cleare worked with the 2000 Gold medalist in the 4x100-meter relay in four-month spans of the offseason as Ferguson developed into one of the most dominant female sprinters of all-time.
Cleare has guided a host of athletes to immense success on various national teams. Athletes who he has coached have won scores of medals at the Carifta Games, World Championships, Pan-American Games, National Junior Championships and the Commonwealth Games, among others.
An IAAF Level IV certified coach in sprints, hurdles and relays, Cleare received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Galilee College in Nassau, Bahamas, in 2009.
Georgia opens its 2011 indoor season with a meet against Clemson and Auburn in Clemson, S.C., on January 15. The Bulldogs will be hosting the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships at the Spec Towns Track on May 12-15.