South River football Coach Lance Clelland announced Thursday that he will leave the program to become the head coach at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond.
After three years at South River, Clelland, who attended and later coached at McDonogh in Baltimore, will return to the private school ranks. In a letter to the Seahawks community, Clelland said the move is in the best interest of his family, including his three children.
“It’s definitely been a career goal to be able to be an educator, be a teacher and coach at a school where my own children could attend as well,” Clelland said. “That’s one part of it. It’s a fantastic opportunity for my family and I to make the move to Richmond, to be at a place that is just filled with exceptional people and a special community. So we’re very excited.”
After a successful playing career at Northwestern from 1997-2001 and brief stops in the NFL with the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, Clelland received his first head coaching job at Meade in 2008. After two seasons with the Mustangs and one with the Vanguard School in Florida, Clelland accepted the job at South River and led the program to the 4A East region playoffs in each of his first two seasons. Last year, the Seahawks won their final three games en route to a 5-5 record.
Several players thrived under Clelland’s tutelage, including senior wide receiver James Smith, who added his name to the state record book with 2,286 career receiving yards, ninth-best among all Maryland public-school receivers. Quarterback Jalen Jones (New Mexico State), quarterback Connor Cox (Dayton) and running back Lavon Chaney (Monmouth) also earned Division I scholarships.
“My three years at South River have been very, very special,” Clelland said. “Building relationships and getting to know the young men here and the families here has been an absolute joy. I needed to make a move in the best interest of my own family, my three kids, and it was an opportunity that I could not pass up.”