He was coming off quite a successful first year at Tahlequah. His fastpitch and slowpitch softball teams had both qualified for the state tournaments in the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011, respectively.
Things were going good for Matt Cloud.
Then a question was posed to him before his second tenure of duty as Tahlequah’s softball coach: “You don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon?”
His response to the Daily Press: “I’d like to call this place home for a very long time.”
He’s made good on his word and he’s taken his softball teams to their respective state tournaments in every subsequent season since.
Now he’s taking on a role that’s sure to keep him in Tahlequah that much longer.
On Monday, Tahlequah’s board of education approved Cloud’s appointment as Tahlequah High School’s dean of athletics.
“It was something I wanted to do,” Cloud said. “It’s going to be a good move for me.”
Cloud will fill the void left by Brad Gilbert, who stepped down from the position to focus on teaching and being the head coach of the varsity football team. Cloud’s tenure as the athletic director will begin July 1.
“It starts today,” Cloud said of his preparations in becoming the athletic director. “We had some meetings after the board meeting, and we tried to figure out which coaches need to go where. So I’m hitting the ground running right now.”
Lisa Presley, superintendent of Tahlequah Public Schools, lauded Cloud’s hire as the athletic director.
“We had some great candidates, but Matt stood out,” Presley said. “We’re going to look for his leadership ability and his attention to detail.”
Taking over as an athletic director is nothing new in the Cloud family. Matt’s dad, Gil, has been the athletic director at a countless number of high schools, including Tulsa Public Schools, where he currently resides over the district’s athletic programs. Gil Cloud also served as the athletic director at Northeastern State.
“I’ve grown up watching him,” Matt Cloud said. “He’s made programs pretty good. For instance, no one knew who Union was until he was there for 16 years. It was something in the back of my mind that I thought I might try and do.”
In eight seasons of fastpitch and slowpitch softball, Matt Cloud has compiled a record of 287-36. His slowpitch softball club came up one victory shy of the Class 6A state championship this spring, losing to Southmoore in the finals.
Now Matt Cloud will impose those same kind of winning expectations on the rest of the Tahlequah athletic program.
“My expectations are a lot higher than most other coaches,” Matt Cloud said. “I’ll certainly have some high expectations for the other programs, and there could be some growing pains to start off.”
But if other coaches take pointers from Matt Cloud’s success, Cloud could be helping Tahlequah Public Schools fill the trophy cases in the TMAC.