A stone plaque at the stadium in Tonawanda that bears his name reads: “Dedicated to Clint Small, Teacher, Mentor, Friend, Coach…The Greatest Warrior.” A 1934 graduate of Tonawanda High School, Small starred in football, basketball and baseball. After bachelor’s degrees from Canisius College and Ithaca College, four years in the Army during World War II, and a master’s degree in education from the University at Buffalo, Small began a legendary coaching career at Tonawanda High.
As head football coach from 1949 – 1973, Small led the Warriors to a record of 108-69-15, including five league championships, and not a single losing season from 1956 to 1972. His teams ran off 21 consecutive wins from 1963 – 1965. Upon his retirement from football in 1973, the stadium was renamed Clinton H. Small Stadium in his honor. Forty years later, a brand new replacement stadium was built on the school’s campus and retains the same name.
Despite his accomplishments on the gridiron, Small achieved even greater success on the baseball diamond. During his 31 seasons as head baseball coach, Tonawanda never had a losing season while compiling a record of 330-150. He coached Tonawanda to the sectional playoffs 19 times, winning eight titles. Clint also coached the Eldredge Club AAABA baseball team, and was a co-founder of the Tonawanda News Baseball League.
Although small in stature, Clint Small has been called a “giant of a gentleman.” In 1973, when he was named Citizen of the Year in the Tonawandas, a Tonawanda News editorial said: “For hundreds and hundreds of young people, he has been their citizen of the year for many years. In fact, there hasn’t been a Tonawanda High pupil in the last 26 years who hasn’t been helped in some way by Clint Small.”
Clint Small passed away in December 1999 at the age of 85.