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Cinco Ranch Football Coach Don Clayton Closes His Play Book


KATY MAGAZINE l MAY 2019

By Jennifer Miko

After coaching and mentoring probably thousands of Katy young men during his time at Cinco Ranch High School, Don Clayton shares fond memories of his time as head football coach, and what the next chapter holds.

When CRHS first opened in 1999, Clayton started the program there, and for 20 years, he was the only football coach the Cougars had ever known. When he announced his retirement on April 15, the highly respected coach was flooded with well-wishes and fond memories from players, parents and a grateful community.

Before They Called Him Coach

Clayton graduated from Nederland High School in 1975 and went to on to study at the University of Wyoming with a history major. While there, he played baseball and was the school’s star quarterback. His impressive on-field skills landed him in the school’s athletics hall of fame.

In the fall of 1979, Clayton moved back to Texas to get his teaching certificate from Lamar University.

At the same time, Rhonda Lofton, was starting her senior year at Lamar University. Her father coached football at the junior high in Nederland, and she recalls, “I grew up in a football town and have been attending football games since I was a young child.”

She remembered Clayton from his “glory days” playing quarterback in high school.

“I told a mutual friend that I wanted to meet him. I truthfully spent my whole summer school session planning my breaks between classes trying to be in a hall that he would be in!!” Rhonda remembered.

When Clayton was student teaching and coaching at his alma mater, Nederland High School, the planning final worked and the couple had their first date at a Country Western dance hall.

The Love of His Life

After dating for 14 months, Don Clayton proposed. “I got her a ring, asked her dad, and then I asked her if she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. With her being the daughter of a coach, she knew what life was going to be like – very simil