Jeff Cleveland was announced as the new Commerce Independent School District Mens Athletic Director and Head Football Coach on June 4 during a special CISD School Board of Trustees meeting.
Cleveland comes to Commerce from Hanks High School in El Paso, where he spent the last 10 years as head coach.
According to CISD Superintendent Blake Cooper, Cleveland was chosen not only for his coaching skills, but also for his involvement in the community and in the classroom.
“To me, if you’ve got a good teacher you’ve got a good coach,” he said. “He is passionate about students, the community and the schools.”
After interviewing Cleveland and learning how he taught and coached his former students, Cooper said he knew he would fit in well at Commerce.
“He wants to win, but he wants to do it the right way,” he said.
Cleveland is an alumnus of East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce, and already has connections with some of the university staff.
“Coach [Sam] Walker and I were Graduate Assistants together,” he said, adding his parents also live in the area, which played a large part in him making the move back to Commerce. “It’s a big reason I wanted to come back. You can’t put a price tag on spending time with your family.”
Instead of promising a playoff birth and championship every year, Cleveland said he has three main goals that make a successful athletic program.
“I’m not big on guarantees, and I’m not big on brash statements,” he said, adding the goals are to develop character and to perform well and be respectful in the classroom, which he said leads into the third goal, to win on the field. “That’s what we’re going to do here, we’re going to do the right thing.”