TIFTON — Cliff Ranew, one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in Georgia history, has died. Ranew died in Lee County April 11 at the age of 78.
Ranew was a 13-time state champion across the GISA and GHSA over a 19-year period at four different schools.
At Crisp Academy, he won four consecutive boys titles from 1972-75 and consecutive girls titles from 1975-77. Moving over to Worth Academy, he won four more girls crowns, in 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1986 — a run that also included a 71-game winning streak.
At Albany’s Riverview Academy, Ranew won state with the boys in 1989. A year later, he went to Berrien and promptly led the girls to the GHSA Class AA championship in 1990.
Ranew also had stints at Lee County and Lowndes before a final term with Crisp Academy. At Lowndes, he coached the Vikettes to the semifinals in 1997 and the Vikings to a quarterfinals appearance in 2002, the boys' deepest run in state. He also had a semifinals run with Berrien’s girls in 1991 and made two appearances in the tournament with the boys.
He totaled more than 1,050 wins during his coaching career.
Quite an athlete himself, Ranew played in state basketball tournaments with Lee County and Terrell. He played basketball and baseball at Moultrie’s Norman College before transferring to Florida State. There, he had the opportunity to pitch in the College World Series.
Athletics ran in the family. Ranew's older brother, Merritt, played Major League Baseball with the Houston Colt .45s, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Braves, California Angels and Seattle Pilots.