GSAC Commissioner Dr. Cliff Hamlow (back row center), joined by his wife June (with flowers) and their family, was recognized for his longtime service and dedication to the conference at the GSAC All-Sports meeting at Vanguard University. After Dr. Hamlow offered a devotional to begin the meeting, Chair of the GSAC Council of Presidents Dr. Paul Ague gave thanks to him for his many years of dedication and service. Hamlow received a standing ovation from the coaches and administrators from all conference schools gathered at the meeting.
Hamlow, long-time men's basketball coach and Athletics Director at Azusa Pacific University, was a leading figure in the establishment of the Golden State Athletic Conference back in the mid-1980s, and then became the commissioner of the conference in 1991, holding that position for 21 years until his retirement this past summer. During his tenure Biola, Hope International, San Diego Christian and The Master's joined the GSAC, and women's soccer and softball were added to the list of sports sponsored by the conference.
"Cliff is loyal and passionate. Over the last 30-plus years none of that has changed," said John Moore, men's basketball coach at Westmont College. "These qualities of Cliff are the tried and true that I, and so many of us, value about Christian College athletics. He cares about God and wants others to know Him; he cares about the academic development of the student, and he cares about athletes and their character growth more than their athletic performance. His passion and his loyalty are displayed in his devotion to making everyone and everything he touches a little bit better. "
Hamlow was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame as a basketball coach in 1981 and was awarded the NAIA Charles Morris Athletic Administrator of the Year Award in 2004. He has served on numerous NAIA committees, including the National Administrative Council (NAC). Most recently he was the chair and vice-chair of the NAC Rules and Ratings subcommittee. He also helped create the NAIA's Champions of Character program.
"I think we should all join in recognizing the outstanding contributions of this extraordinary individual who has provided outstanding leadership and been a voice of reason for our Conference Commissioners' group," wrote Southern Athletic Conference Commissioner John Hudson. "Cliff was one of the top NAIA people back in the early 1970s when I was a young coach and I have always admired him and sought to follow his great example of how athletics should be administered, both on a campus and in a conference. I know that he is a man of great integrity and character and we will all miss him and his leadership."
"I too would like to express the impact that Cliff has had on me for many years as I have served with him on the NAIA Rating Sub-Committee of the NAC as well as CACI when we were organized somewhat differently," said Lowell Pitzer Commissioner of the American Midwest Conference. "He has been a role model depicting wisdom with humility as well as serving for a long time shaping the NAIA's path to enhance the experience of the student athlete."
Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Commissioner Rob Miller considers Hamlow a mentor, leader and friend. "Cliff lives his faith out to be witnessed."