Former Temple player leading the Leopards as head coach

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 8:00 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Temple College men’s basketball team won their home opener last night. The Leopards have a new head coach this season, Clifton Ellis.

Coach Ellis isn’t really new to Temple. Ellis played at Temple from 1995 through 1997.

He was coached by Kirby Johnson.

“You know there’s always a what would Kirby Johnson do type of thing no matter where I went,” said Ellis.

Coach Johnson retired last year, Ellis was in temple for Johnson’s last game.

“We were just happy to show our appreciation for Coach Johnson all the former players. That event just kind of got the ball rolling. I guess you could say as far as making this move,” explained Ellis.

After coaching high school basketball in the San Antonio area since 2000. Coach Ellis has made the move to the college level, replacing his old coach.

“That was something that was very appealing to me, was to coach at the college level and then to come back to temple was a dream come true,” said Ellis.

Ellis made the most out of his opportunity as a player at Temple.

“When I came out of high school I wasn’t a Division I basketball player. I wasn’t even what you’d consider a four year player at that point I just wasn’t,” said Ellis.

But after two years as a Leopard, Ellis earned a spot at Texas State. He got a degree and started his coaching career. He hopes his players can see that could happen for them too.

“It’s very valuable that day in day out we stress that there is an end game to this,” said Ellis.

Coach Ellis is enjoying certain changes that come with the college level.

“I was a high school coach for two decades I would always complain about a shot clock,” said Ellis.

If he has any issues, his old coach is around to go to for advice.

“He’s like I want to stay out of the way and I’m like oh no coach I’m going to call you all the time,” said Ellis.

Coach Ellis and the Leopards will take on Hill College on Saturday.

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