• Cliff Gillies, year 2002 inductee to the “Wall of Fame” in the Koplitz Fieldhouse, was raised in South Bend and graduated from South Bend High School in 1945. Cliff participated in football, basketball and track during high school. He was named all league for three years in basketball and all league in football his junior and senior year. Following high school he served in the Air Force in the South Pacific, then went on to attend Washington State University.

    He began his career in education in 1951 with the Monroe Public Schools. He taught at the junior high and high school levels, and coached football, basketball, track, and baseball. He was named principal of Monroe high School in 1959,and he served at two other Washington high schools in that capacity during the next eighteen years. He was principal of Snohomish High School from 1963 to 1968 and Mariner High School in Mukilteo from 1968-1977. He also served as an Assistant Superintendent of the Mukilteo Schools for four years.

    In 1982 the “opportunity of a lifetime” opened up and Cliff was named the Executive Director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (W.I.A.A.) and held that position until 1993. The association (W.I.A.A.) regulates interscholastic activities in the State of Washington. The W.I.A.A. is the largest organized sports organization in the State representing over seven hundred middle and high schools. Under his able leadership, the W.I.A.A. became nationally recognized as a leader in its student activity programs.

    Because of his leadership Washington State is noted for:

    • Originating the state football playoff championships.

    • The W.I.A.A.’s High Five program.

    • Mat Classic, the largest high school wrestling tournament in the world competing on eighteen mats in the Tacoma Dome.

    • Pioneering the national trend towards “Coaches Standards”.

    • The W.I.A.A.’s “Revenue Sharing” program.

    • The commitment of the W.I.A.A. to be service oriented, its Academic and Achievement Awards and its proactive work in promoting sportsmanship.

    Cliff is most proud of Washington’s efforts to meet with the changes brought about during the advent of Title IX. “It was an exciting time.” “I’m proud of what we did to advance girls athletics in our state. It was great to watch them advance from “play day” type competition to more organized and competitive programs. We were a leader in the nation for years with our balance of girls participating in high school sports.”

    Another proud moment came in July of 1990 when Cliff was named the president of the National Federation of State High School Associations for the 1990-1991 school year. The National Federation, located in Kansas City, Missouri, is organized to serve, protect, and enhance the interstate activity interests of high schools belonging to the state associations.

    When asked about his career with the W.I.A.A. Cliff responded “It is without a doubt the greatest profession. Largely because of the people and the positive impact it has on the lives of youth.” 

    Cliff has devoted his life to education and student activities, serving over forty-three years in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator. 


    • Graduate of South Bend High School and Washington State University.

    • Veteran of World War II.

    • Teacher – Coach – Counselor – Principal, began his career at Monroe Junior High in 1951.

    • Served in education thirty years: Teacher/Coach - nine years, Principal – seventeen years, Assistant Superintendent – four years.

    • Adjunct professor: Western Washington University, University of Washington.

    • Executive Director for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association – eleven years.

    • Membership in twenty-five service and professional organizations.

    • Presenter at over two hundred state, regional, and national conferences for educators, student leaders, and athletes. International presenter and speaker at workshops in England, Canada, and Africa.
    • Author of two books.


    • Washington Interscholastic Activities Association – Distinguished Service Award.

    • Northwest Interscholastic Activities Association – Hal Moe Award.

    • Washington State School Athletic Administrators Association - Special Recognition Award.

    • Association of Washington School Principals - President’s Outstanding Contribution Award.

    • Association of Washington School Principals – Special Recognition Awards, 1979 & 1981.

    • P.T.A. Outstanding Service to Youth Award.

    • National Association of Secondary School Principals – Citation for Professional Achievement.
    • National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) - Model School Project Principal.

    • N.A.S.S.P. – chosen one of sixty outstanding High School Principals – National Association of Secondary School Principals Study on “The Effective Principal”, 1978

    • Author or co-author of numerous educational and interscholastic published articles.

    • National Federation of State High Schools Association Executive Committee – 1988-1991.

    • National Federation of State High Schools Association – President,

    • Legislative Ad Hoc Committee Study – Equity in Sports, 1989-90.

    • Legislative Ad Hoc Committee Study – Commercialism in Schools,


    • W.S.S.D.A. President’s Award – outstanding service to education, 1992.

    • Everett Herald – Special Recognition Award, 1993.

    • John Cherberg Award, 1993.

    • NF Outstanding Service Award – for service to H.S. football, 1993.

    • Honored by the Washington State Board of Education with special “Resolution” May, 1993.

    • Recipient of the Washington State University Alumni Association Award for 2002.