George August Clemens Jr., 89, of Milford MA, went home to our Father Wednesday, February 27, 2019. For 59 years he was married to the former Alice Ann Brassie, both originally of Lafayette, Indiana, who predeceased George in January 2011. He was the son of George A., Sr. and Grace Clemens of Lafayette. He is survived by his four sons, Todd, of Milford, Duff, of Northampton, MA, Thom, of Aurora, CO, and Scott, of Milford. He is survived, too, by his grandson, North Clemens, and his great grandson, Greyson Clemens. George is survived by his sister-in-law, Denise Brassie of South Bend, Indiana, as well. George was pre-deceased by his grandson, Zandy Clemens, brother of North Clemens.
Having taken both a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Purdue University, George became the first in his family to graduate high school, college, and graduate school. He also played varsity football and baseball for the Boilermakers. He began a 35-year college football coaching career after an eight-year stint as a high school teacher and coach with three stops in the state of Michigan. Starting in Cheboygan, moving from Pigeon to Flint, he taught biology and speech, in addition to coaching varsity football, basketball, and baseball (and head coach of all three). His 1955 Pigeon H.S. (MI) football squad finished undefeated and unscored upon. He twice won or tied for the Flint (MI) Parochial football title and his basketball teams twice won the district titles while he was the head man at St. John Vianney H.S. It should also be noted that, as a Flint high school basketball coach, he single-handedly integrated the outdoor basketball courts at that city's Ballenger Park.
In 1961, Coach Jim Miller brought him to the University of Detroit as offensive line coach; both his ends played in the N.F.L. He followed Coach Miller to Boston College the following year, where he was first defensive line coach and became the defensive coordinator. While at B.C., he coached eight Eagles who went on to play in both the A.F.L. and the N.F.L. His 1963 and 1964 defensive units finished in the national top ten in team defense and yards allowed. Coaching in both a one-platoon and a two-platoon offensive and defensive format, George and Coach Miller were often the only two coaches on the B.C. sideline, with two more in the press box and two others scouting the next week's opponent.
After a one-year hiatus at Rush-Henrietta H.S. (NY), George became the head baseball coach and football defensive coordinator at the University of Rochester. His 1970 and 1972 defensive units finished in the national Division III top ten in team defense and in the 1970 top five in turnovers created. His 1971 Yellowjackets baseball squad won the unofficial New York State Small College title From there it was on to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Colgate University (where he coached All-East safety, and future Washington Redskins Super Bowl champion, Mark Murphy, presently the president of the Green Bay Packers), and Harvard, where he also was recruiting coordinator and staff liaison to the university's admissions office. His 1982, 1983, 1987, and 1990 Crimson defensive units all finished in the Division I-AA (now FCS) national top seven in fewest yards vs. the run, fewest points allowed, and team defense.
He left Harvard, after coaching 18 All-Ivy players across 17 seasons. He finished his coaching career with induction to the American Football Coaches' Association Hall of Fame. Almost immediately, he was designated head of the Massachusetts state-funded anti-smoking campaign for the Milford area, a slot that allowed him access to town and county politics. He traveled across much of central and western Mass, in that capacity. He wound up his working career at the Home Depot in Bellingham, where he made many personal friends, many of whom sought his advice on everything from children to job development.
George was a 42-year communicant at St. Mary of The Assumption in Milford, where he also served twice on the parish council, in addition to being a lector and a Eucharistic minister. In the last several years of his life, he became a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus and an active member of the Valencia chapter of the same.
His funeral will be held Tuesday (March 5th) at 9am from the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home, 44 Congress Street, Milford MA followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10am in St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 19 Winter Street, Milford MA. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Milford MA. Visiting hours will be Monday (March 4th) from 5pm to 8pm.
Kindly consider a memorial donation to St. Mary of the Assumption Church, c/o Church Offices, 17 Winter Street, Milford MA 01757.