Former coach dies
Bill Cloer, 74, coached Blue Devils from 1973 to 1979
Former Elbert County High School Football Coach Bill Cloer, 74, died at his home in Athens Tuesday.
A graveside funeral service will be held in Oconee Hills Cemetery in Athens Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2:30.p.m. Family will receive friends from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. prior to the service in the Sexton House located near the cemetery.
The Washington-Wilkes graduate and former University of Georgia football player began coaching as an assistant at Elbert County in 1969, then took over as head coach in 1973, succeeding Boyd Outz.
The 1973 Blue Devil football team finished 9-1 in Cloer’s inaugural season as a head coach.
“He really turned the program around,” said one of Elbert County’s co-captains on the 1973 team, Ben Baker, who is currently chairman of the Elbert County school board. “We were so vanilla in our offense in the years before he took over. When he was hired, over the summer he installed a wishbone offense. It wasn’t a passing offense but (quarterback) Don Drennan threw 17 touchdown passes.”
Baker, who moved to Elbert County for his senior year of high school, said Cloer “took him in” when he arrived in Elbert County.
“I loved him to death,” said Baker. “He was also my head baseball coach. I thought a lot of him.”
“He was an encourager,” said another one of Cloer’s Blue Devils, Ron Cordell. “I’ll always remember Coach Cloer as a professional coach and a good man. I think your high school football coach is someone who always leaves a lasting impact on your life, and Coach Cloer certainly had an impact on my life.”
Over a 23-year career as a high school head coach in Georgia, Cloer compiled a 144-99-3 record.
In Elbert County he went 40-30-2 and posted his best seasons in 1973 (9-1) and 1979, when the Blue Devils finished the year with an 8-3 record.
His 1985 Redan High School team finished the year 11-1-1.