Getting to know: Coach Michael Cleary

By Amanda Lowrance

Getting to know: Coach Michael Cleary

Coach Michael Cleary of Michie Elementary School. Staff Photo by Amanda Lowrance

Holding many roles at Michie Elementary School, Michael Cleary still finds time to be a role model, parent, and husband.

The upstanding coach was born and raised by Frankie and Karen Cleary in Michie, Tenn., which now has a population of nearly 700 people.

Early memories as a youngster come from playing and practicing sports with his father in the driveway.

“My dad always coached me in t-ball and little league,” said Cleary, “or with basketball he would be outside shooting with me and trying to teach me the right shots.”

In junior high, Cleary played football and later played four years of basketball and three years of baseball at Adamsville Junior Senior High School.

In 1995 Cleary graduated from Adamsville. He pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History at the University of North Alabama. Wanting to go even further, Cleary finished his Master’s degree in Education in 2006 at Freed Hardeman University.

“I am self-motivated,” said Cleary. “I see and set a goal and then try to reach for that goal.”

For seven years, Cleary has coached Michie Blue Devil basketball. He began as assistant football coach and two years later took the role as head football coach. 

“I want the goal to be attainable,” said Cleary, “but I also want to see the challenge. For example I would like to see if I can take a one-win team and make them win six or seven games. To me that’s fun, and that’s an accomplishment.”

Cleary is also the athletic director and physical education teacher at Michie. His duties include scheduling athletic events and making sure they are within all the rules and regulations.

Eleven years ago, Michael married April McCullar and the two now have a girl, Kennedy, and a boy, Carter. Kennedy is preparing for preschool this year and Carter just turned a year old.

Kennedy enjoys watching Tennessee Titan football games with Daddy on Monday night. The two root and cheer as they wear their favorite team jerseys.

Not only is Cleary a role model for his children but to approximately 475 students at Michie Elementary. He has recently coached a strong, young group of athletes that gave Michie a winning season in both football and basketball.

“I have had several stand outs,” said Cleary. “Most of them are in high school right now. I think that they will be contributors to their teams in football and in basketball this year.”

Even though they have left Michie, he still has faith in these individuals.

“I know there will be some out of the class that left last year that will go on and get scholarships.”

According to Cleary, at the start of becoming head coach in football, the season was turned around with a quote by John Madden, “The road to easy street goes through the sewer.”

“I love that quote,” said Cleary. “It has kind of been my motivation.”