April 24, 2024

Clarke hires head football coach

The Clarke Community School Board approved the hire of Justin Clutter as the new head varsity football coach on Feb. 16.

Clutter replaces Sean Quinlan, who stepped down from the position after three years. Clutter was introduced to staff and players Feb. 19.

Originally from Clarion, Clutter has lived for the past several years in southern Alabama while teaching and coaching both in Alabama and at Seminole County High School in Donalsonville, Georgia. There, he is an offensive coordinator, and an assistant coach for the baseball team.

The news of Clutter’s acceptance as head coach for Clarke came with excitement, but also with some mixed emotions. Not only is it a big move for he and his family, but he’s also close to his football team in Georgia - especially his quarterback, whom he speaks with almost daily.

This will be Clutter’s first time as head coach, but in talking with his former head coaches and mentors, he felt this was the right thing to do.

“These opportunities don’t come along every year. Just the right fit for me and my family. Good opportunities and [a] good challenge,” said Clutter.

Clutter also said the atmosphere of Clarke is something that drew him to the position.

“I enjoyed the people. That’s a big part of being a coach, is building relationships and really the first thing stuck out to me…the same vision that the administrators have here for the football program, it aligns with what I want to do as well,” said Clutter.

Football program

For Clutter, a good program starts from the bottom up, building on a good foundation to have a team that will find success long term, from the youngest flag footballers to middle school, junior varsity and to varsity.

Clutter’s motto is “win the day,” implementing the idea that by winning at everything his athletes do during the school day, in the weight room and practice will spill over onto the field.

“If we do can all those…we will win at Friday nights,” said Clutter.

Having worked with a lot of what he considered very good head coach and mentors, Clutter said he took a little bit of everyone he’s worked with. He’s been part of a program that lost 26 straight games, and been with a program that went 58-6 in five years. At Humboldt, he was on the coaching staff when they won the 2006 state championship. He has experience as a defensive coordinator, was his first coaching job at what is now CAL Community School District in North-central Iowa.

He considers his coaching style to be aggressive, similar to teaching.

“I want to be involved, I want to be aggressive…especially with the things that we do,” said Clutter. Part of that will come with learning the personalities of not just his team, but the other coaching staff as well.

Settling in

Clutter finds being a presence in the community as something that is important, and he plans to be out and about in the community. He and his wife are both educators, and his wife is currently working on her Iowa teaching certification. They have two daughters who will be middle school students and Clarke, and his oldest daughter is a student at the University of Iowa. Clutter hopes to be in Iowa by mid-June, as soon as he finishes out his current contract.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.