Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship

Jack Clark to Enter Cal Hall of Fame

May 16, 2016

Jack Clark to Enter Cal Hall of Fame

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Photo: Dobson Images

Cal Athletics Press Release: May 16, 2016

BERKELEY – Jack Clark, a football and rugby player for the Golden Bears from 1976-78 who has won 26 combined national collegiate championships since becoming head rugby coach for the Golden Bears in 1984, will be inducted into the University of California Athletic Hall of Fame this fall autumn

Induction ceremonies take place November 4 at the annual Hall of Fame banquet and will be followed by halftime recognition for the new Hall of Fame class during halftime of Cal’s Nov. 5 football game vs. Washington.

“I am so appreciative,” said coach Clark, whose unparalleled and still very active career precipitated a change in bylaws by the Hall of Fame to ease what had been a significant required gap between the end of a coaching career and eligibility for induction. “It is such a great honor to be inducted into this old, proud university’s Hall of Fame.”

In his 33rd year as head coach, Clark has led the Cal rugby program to 23 national collegiate titles in the 15-a-side game, most recently beating previously undefeated BYU to win the 2016 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup national championship, in addition to three consecutive national collegiate 7s titles since 2013 at the Collegiate Rugby Championship.

Clark’s Cal teams have produced this country’s most accomplished student-athletes, players who have gone on to significant careers on and off the pitch, including 131 All-Americans, 36 players who have played for the U.S National Team, five who have earned Varsity Blues competing for Oxford against Cambridge as graduate students, three who have received residency contracts from the U.S. Olympic Committee and countless other graduates of the University whose “Ph.D. in team,” as Clark has called it, equips them to make them important contributors to their communities and families.

Hailing from Huntington Beach, Calif., where he was a three-sport standout and selected the “most inspirational” athlete at Edison High School, Clark was a two-sport student-athlete at Cal. As a starting offensive lineman for the Bears on the gridiron, his two seasons in 1976 and ’77 overlapped with quarterback Joe Roth, for whom Clark blocked as a tackle. In rugby, Clark was a dominant lock for the Rugby Bears.

Following Cal, after signing a professional contract with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, Clark continued his rugby playing career with post-collegiate campaigns for the senior club national champion Old Blues RFC and the U.S. National Team, earning Most Valuable Player honors at the 1979 U.S. National Team Trials and Territorial Championships. Clark’s play as a U.S. international earned him a starting spot as a lock on the World Overseas XV team that played the Welsh National Team during its centennial celebration in Cardiff in 1980. An off-the-field injury ended Clark’s athletic career and he joined the Cal coaching staff two years later in 1982. In 1984, he succeeded Ned Anderson as head coach.

Clark took Cal, which had won the national championship in 1980-83, back to the top of collegiate rugby with the 1985 national titles after a one-year hiatus in 1984. In addition to the 26 total titles his Cal teams have earned, the Bears’ success under Clark has included an impressive combined record of 36-1 against rugby powerhouses Army, Navy and Air Force in the 15-a-side game; 14 of the last 19 “World Cup” series vs. University of British Columbia; a domestic winning streak of 98 games from 1990-96 and a 70-game tear that lasted until 2003; a winning streak over U.S. collegiate competition that lasted 115 matches between April 2004 and May 2009; and a streak in 15s of 63 straight matches that ran from opening day in 2010 through Feb. 18, 2012. A past chairman of the Cal Head Coaches Advisory Board, Clark has also received National Coach of the Year awards and numerous Cal Coach of the Year awards. His all-time collegiate coaching record, all at Cal, stands at 614-78-5 (.880) in 15s and 103-14 (.880) in 7s.

Fellow Cal coaches offered their praise following the announcement of Clark’s upcoming induction:

“I’m really excited to see Jack Clark be inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame. His record as a rugby coach speaks for itself but the consistency he has been able to develop with his program is remarkable. Jack has also done a great job developing young people, and I have tremendous respect for him and his knowledge and understanding of how to build teams. As a student-athlete, Jack had a special career at Cal playing both rugby and football, and he was a heck of a player in both sports. He was fortunate to play football with Joe Roth and be part of one of the great stories in Cal football history. I’m sure having an opportunity to see what Joe was all about had an impact on Jack’s life, and he does a great job of resonating that same appreciation and strength of character that Joe had.”
– Sonny Dykes, Cal head football coach

“Jack’s the man. He’s the best. I hadn’t coached in college in 12 years when I came to Cal, and Jack was one of the first people that took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. He is an icon. He’s authentic. He’s had a really great influence and positive impact on me. And he does that not just in the athletic department but for everybody that he’s coached. Even within the rowing community, when I arrived at Cal, people wanted to know, ‘Have you met Jack Clark?’ He’s had such an influence, it goes way beyond rugby, and I feel fortunate to know him and be able to call him a friend.”
– Mike Teti, Cal men’s head crew coach, Olympic medalist as coach and rower

“The thing that I respect so much about Jack is the consistency. His teams have a consistency of excellence. I very much admire the way they conduct themselves, the quality of their tradition and their greater purpose of playing for the people who came before them. People may say that about other things, but you can really see it in his program. Personally, I’ve always been inspired anytime I hear Jack speak or I get to talk to him. He has that kind of presence among his peers in a coaching meeting and nationally in the coaching world, regardless of the sport. And obviously, he was a great athlete himself. He’s got the whole package.”
– Teri McKeever, Cal women’s swimming & diving head coach, national champion, Olympic coach

“I had inspirational coaches and teammates as a student-athlete at Cal,” Clark said. “They were fantastic role models. Then, when I was first hired a long while ago, I was the young, green coach and there were always experienced coaches on our intercollegiate staff willing to help me. Now I’m responsible for paying that forward to my colleagues.”

“His record of success as an educator of student-athletes, a coach of championship teams and an ambassador for our university is unmatched.”
– Mike Williams [Cal Director of Athletics]

“His success has been unmatched in collegiate athletics, and his student-athletes carry the Cal rugby ethos that he instills to achieve greatness in their post-collegiate careers as vibrant contributors to the global community. His stewardship of the oldest intercollegiate sport on our campus has been unparalleled.”
– Sandy Barbour [Cal AD 2004-14]

“He is a master at his craft. I had the great opportunity to work with him for 15 years at Cal, watching his practices and games, and have always been inspired by his uncanny ability to lead his men and program to unprecedented success. His student-athletes have complete faith in his ability to get the most out of them and to win championships. He is the best coach I have ever worked with and, more importantly, he is an even better person.”
– Bob Driscoll [Acting Cal AD 2001]

“One of our highest priorities for Cal Athletics is to attract and retain the best coaches in the country, and Jack Clark certainly is a prime example.”
– Steve Gladstone [Acting Cal AD 2002]

“Jack Clark could coach any Cal team to a national championship, he just happens to coach rugby.”
– John Kasser [Cal AD 1993-2001]

“A consummate professional with a great moral compass, nationally respected credentials and an ability to win with a whistle or three-piece suit. In my 30-plus years in athletics, I can think of very few that rival his capabilities as a coach and a person.”
– Rick Greenspan [former Cal administrator and former AD at Army, Indiana and Rice]

“Jack Clark would be a winner in whatever endeavor he undertook – it just so happens that rugby has been the beneficiary of his competent leadership. He is without a doubt one of the finest rugby coaches in the word – yes, I said the world.”
– Dave Maggard [Cal AD 1972-91]

“I have worked for some amazing athletic administrators here at Cal and I’m grateful for their leadership,” Clark said. “I also so admire the individuals on our rugby staff with whom I get to work every day. My most sincere appreciation needs to be offered to the young men I’ve been so fortunate to coach at Cal. They have taught me about the important things in life, about the human spirit, about what we are capable of together.”

In addition to his devotion to Cal, Clark has been instrumental in the growth of rugby in the United States, stimulating a more competitive collegiate landscape in the process. He is recognized as the founder of the U.S. Collegiate All-American Team, which he coached from 1985-1992. He was also head coach of the U.S. National Team from 1993-1999, during which time the United States won 16 international test matches, the most victories ever by a U.S. national team coach. As the General Manager of the national team while head coach and continuing in that role until 2003, Clark oversaw all aspects of USA Rugby’s flagship program. Throughout his entire tenure as GM he also handled the dual role of Business Development Director, successfully originating landmark broadcasting and sponsorship agreements which established the national team as a self-sufficient entity that contributed significantly to the national governing body, USA Rugby.

In a singular honor, Clark delivered the keynote address at the International Rugby Board’s Conference on the Game 1998. He was also the recipient in 2001 of the Craig Sweeney Award, which is bestowed to former U.S. internationals for their “significant contribution to the game, and in 2015, he was selected as one of Cal’s “Pac-12 Legends” in a video series produced by the conference.

But recognition from the Cal campus has always been just as valued as international acclaim by coach Clark and the Cal rugby culture that he has cultivated and protected. In 2000, he was chosen by the Daily Californian as one of Cal’s Ten Most Influential Sports Figures of the 20th Century, joining legendary Cal Hall of Fame coaches Carrol “Ky” Ebright, Brutus Hamilton, Pete Newell and Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf on the honor roll.

Clark was centrally involved in rallying the Cal faithful to fund the construction of Witter Rugby Field and the Doc Hudson Rugby Fieldhouse, which opened in Strawberry Canyon in 1996-97. Most importantly, he has been instrumental in largely endowing the sport of rugby on campus at the University.

One of only six head coaches over the 134-year history of Cal rugby, Clark was inducted in 2014 into the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame, where he joined former Golden Bears coach Miles “Doc” Hudson, who led the program from 1938-74; fellow Bear Colby “Babe” Slater, a two-time Olympic gold medalist; and nine other Cal players – George Davis, George Fish, Matt Hazeltine, Charles Mehan, Charles Tilden and James Winston in 1920, followed by Ed Graff, George Dixon and Ed Turkington in 1924 – whose USA Olympic gold-medal teams were previously inducted.

Cal rugby was first established in 1882 and is the oldest intercollegiate sport at the University. In November, Clark will join his fellow Bears from the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame and the other legendary Cal men who account for the 16 rugby players already inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame. With the addition of its new members, the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame will feature 287 individuals. The school’s Hall of Fame is located on the plaza level on the west side of California Memorial Stadium.

Cal rugby is preparing to enter the 2016 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship June 4-5 in Philadelphia, where the Bears will compete for the fourth straight 7s championship in the same format that will be contested for medals at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

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