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Coaching husband and wife bring success to Stansbury

Paul Fraughton | Salt Lake Tribune Bridget Clinton holds the state championship trophy her Stansbury High softball team won this year. Her husband Ray Clinton is the baseball coach at the school.

By Martin Renzhofer

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published May 22 2013 03:29PM
Updated May 22, 2013 03:29PM

Stansbury Park • These days, Ray Clinton defers to his wife, Bridget.

She has what he wants. But for now, the Stansbury baseball coach is more than happy to celebrate and enjoy the Stallions’ first state championship in any sport — softball.

The delicious moment came Saturday when the Stansbury softball team rode senior Elise Sutherland’s game-changing home run and sophomore Kimbri Herring’s solid pitching to a 6-3 victory against Spanish Fork for the Class 3A championship.

The school, only 4 years old, celebrated with a parade Monday morning with the team perched atop the local fire truck. It was a fitting moment for the 29-3 state champions.

"It was very special," Bridget Clinton said. "This was the first graduating senior class. I’ve been with them since they were freshmen, so it’s pretty special.

"[The bus ride home] was pretty fun. They were excited. They worked pretty hard for it."

Ray Clinton also enjoyed a successful season, finishing 17-7. Stansbury’s baseball team was not so fortunate in the playoffs, losing a pair of one-run games.

Still, "The last two years we’ve won our region, so we’ve done well," Ray said. "We haven’t done well in the playoffs yet, but we’ll get there.

"We’re just happy that each of us has good programs."

And really that’s what matters to each, even if the softball coach has the hardware. It’s actually Bridget’s second state title — her fourth, counting two she won as a player for Tooele in the mid-1990s. She also won a championship her first year coaching Grantsville in 1998.

In between, she and Ray met, married and now have a 9-year-old son, Cole, also a baseball player.

Both have the good fortune of coaching at the same school, though not many in-depth strategy ideas change hands. They have general discussions, but "she usually tells me not to tell her anything," Ray said with a grin.

The coaching philosophies, however, are the same. It begins and ends with a positive outlook, even in the darkest moments.

"You’re always going to have bad plays," Bridget said. "Just pick each other up."

Ray’s day job is as a correctional officer for the sheriff’s office. Bridget works full time at Stansbury. She was asked to coach the team before it had been given uniforms. Ray, who initially was passed over, took the coaching reins once the first candidate chose living in Hawaii over Utah.

"It’s pretty tough to leave Hawaii," said Ray, a native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who attended the University of Utah as a pitcher on a baseball scholarship.

During the interview for the baseball job, Ray was asked his goals for five and 10 years. He has the first, a regional championship.

"So I still have six years [to win a state title]," he said.

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