December 5, 2012

Sac-Joaquin Section honors Modesto-area coaches

The Sac-Joaquin Section selected Debbie Clemens (Pitman High), Mark Miller (Linden), Jana Osgood (Downey), Jill Tooker (Del Oro), Kingsley Claudy (Monterey Trail) and Michael Morris (Rio Linda) for Model Coach Awards.

The Sac-Joaquin Section selected Debbie Clemens (Pitman High), Mark Miller (Linden), Jana Osgood (Downey), Jill Tooker (Del Oro), Kingsley Claudy (Monterey Trail) and Michael Morris (Rio Linda) for Model Coach Awards.

Linden and Pitman won for a second time, while Downey was a first-time winner. To date, 74 coaches have been honored from 51 schools. The section picked Osgood and Morris as its two honorees for the same state award.

The award, honoring coaches who are positive role models within our schools and the community at-large, is being given for the 12th year. Each of the six model coaches will receive a plaque and a lifetime Sac-Joaquin Section pass at an awards breakfast on April 16, 2013 at Hutchins Street Square in Lodi.

DEBBIE CLEMENS (Pitman) Clemens has coached five different sports at varying levels over the last decade at Pitman High.

She was the softball coach — varsity and freshman — for nine years; volleyball coach for five years, cross country coach for seven years, and she coached track and field and soccer for three years apiece. Before that, she was a coach at Ceres High.

She recently started the Pitman High Running Club. And for the last seven years, she's been a Senior Grad Nite Trip volunteer.

While she has coached many sports, she goes above and beyond that for her school. According to Pitman principal Rod Hollars, she is a regular at all sorts of campus events and activities, helping to make her school more of a community. She's been a powerful voice in support of Pursuing Victory with Honor and was instrumental in the implementation of Pitman's Parental Code of Sportsmanship.

"Her fervent belief in acting solely in the best interests of each kid has served her well," Hollars said.


Miller is the longtime football and softball coach at Linden, where he's seen his teams garner all sorts of success. He's been involved in the football program in one way or another since 1968. He was the head coach from 1976-1997 and from 2010 to the present. He's been the softball coach since 2000. His softball teams have won two Sac-Joaquin Section championships and he was the state softball coach of the year in 2004.

He's involved in several charitable organizations, including: Linden Lions Club, Linden Chamber of Commerce, Linden United Methodist Church, Mended Hearts and the American Heart Association. He also works with No One Dies Alone, where he sits and visits with patients during their last stages of life when no family is present.

Over the years, Miller and Linden High have raised nearly $100,000 benefitting St. Joseph's Medical Heart and Cancer Center and the American Heart Association.

"For Coach Miller, the opportunity to watch his players grow and deal with the constant ups and downs of each season has become a catalyst to teach the notion of teamwork and self-reliance," Linden principal Richard Schmidig said.


Osgood has coached volleyball, cross country and track and field at Downey High since 1999. She worked within the volleyball program as the freshman, junior varsity and varsity coach between 1999 and 2007. She's been the school's girls cross country coach since 2007. She was the head girls track and field coach from 2003-2007 and has been the track and field distance coach since 2006. She was selected as her league representative to a leadership convention during that time.

She volunteers with the Shadowchase Running Club for seven years, the American Sport Education Program coach for eight years, the SBSC Bike Club for six years and the USA Masters Swim Team for seven years.

She's received the Teacher of Excellence award from Modesto City Schools and has also received recognition by her local congressman and her community.

"Jana is one of those pillars that everyone on our campus knows as a positive role model and one who displays excellent leadership qualities," said fellow Downey coach Tony Ippolito. "Plus, she truly makes it fun for the student-athletes to be around her."

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