Yoshida brings experience to GSU football

Shakeem Holloway

With experience in building defensive systems as the coordinator at eight collegiate programs, Clifford Yoshida will now join the Georgia Southern University football team as a defensive line coach.

Yoshida’s career spans more than four decades at more than 12 different schools.

“Cliff Yoshida is one of the most knowledgeable defensive coaches in the nation, and he brings a background of more than 40 years of coaching to Georgia Southern along with his experience as a Marine Corps officer,” head coach Jeff Monken said in a news release. “We are thrilled that coach Yoshida has accepted a position with us, and I know he will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our young men and the future success of our program.”

Yoshida has been on many great collegiate coaching staffs including Grambling State University, North Carolina Central University, East Carolina University, Wake Forest University and Duke University among many other schools and now he gets a chance to share his experience with GSU.

“Well, I’ve just got a lot of coaching experience.  I hope I benefit. I hope I can bring some improvement.  They’re a very good football team, and I’m just pleased and tickled to death to be here,” Yoshida said.

While at Grambling State, the Tigers won their 14th black college football national championship and two Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles in 2008 and 2011 while contending for a third during those six years.

In 2008 during his tenure with the Tigers, defense improved upon already impressive rankings in total and scoring defense from the year before, holding its opponents to only 170 points (13.07 per game), the lowest Tiger total allowed since 1985.

In four years with NCCU as defensive coordinator, he helped turn around a program that had limited success into one that posted double-digit wins for the first, and second time ever also winning the black college national football championship in 2006.

In 1992 when Yoshida was at Wake Forest, a team that included Georgia Southern Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein, the Demon Deacons beat Oregon in the Independence Bowl earning a top-25 ranking in the final polls.

With experience come results. A number of Yoshida’s former student-athletes have gone on to professional football careers where many were very successful.

“He coached several all-pro players. Several NFL players have played for him at the colleges he coached.  I think the kids really respect his knowledge, certainly I do and the rest of our coaching staff does,” Monken said.

As for what Yoshida envisions for GSU football, he said, “I think we are going to have a winning football team, and I’m hoping for the best.  The kids are working hard.”