E.A. Sports Today

1,000 and counting

Jacksonville’s Clark scored his 1,000th coaching victory during County Tournament last weekend

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — David Clark knew he was closing in on a milestone, but even he had to admit it snuck up on him a little.

The longtime Jacksonville High School volleyball coach scored his 1,000th career victory Saturday when his Golden Eagles beat Jacksonville Christian in the opening round of the Calhoun County Tournament.

Clark knew he was close and thought he needed 22 wins to reach the plateau only nine other coaches in the state have reached, but he forgot to register his team’s two wins in last year’s Elite Eight.

“It’s neat,” Clark said as he watched Monday’s county tournament title match. “When you think about it, it’s a little overwhelming, but it really makes me think about all the kids who were part of it and just how blessed I’ve been to have quality kids at a quality school, and part of me thinks maybe I’m just dumb enough to have stayed with it long enough to get to that point. But it’s a pretty neat deal.

“I hadn’t thought a whole lot about it. Like I said I even had it miscounted. I have a hard time keeping up with our record during the season. I would have no clue (of the career record) if they didn’t make us put it on the sheet career-wise before we went to the state tournament.”

Clark reached the milestone in the middle of his 23rd season with the Golden Eagles. Among those 1,000 victories are two state championships and nine Calhoun County Tournament titles.

“I knew I was getting close, but I honestly didn’t want to make a big deal out of it,” he said. “It’s kind of neat for me but as far as what it means for this year and what we’re doing it’s kind of irrelevant.”

The school plans to honor Clark and recognize the milestone during the week, although those plans are being closely guarded.

“It’s indescribable to me,” Jacksonville acting principal Rusty Thrasher said. “It’s well deserved, all the hard work he’s put in; he’s all about Jacksonville. This is one of those things that should get him in the Hall of Fame.”

Ask Clark how many more wins he has in him and he’ll say they’re not in him but the players. As for how long he’ll continue coaching, he has a fifth-grade daughter and said if she plays volleyball he’ll probably be involved until she graduates.

“When you really start thinking about a thousand, it’s a lot,” he said. “It’s a lot of games, it’s a lot of gyms. It’s a lot of kids.

“The biggest thing for me is kids. I had one come up today who just came by and said congratulations and I thought, well, I should thank you because you were probably part of 60 or 70 of them. There’s a lot that went into that.”

(On the cover: Jacksonville coach David Clark watches the championship match of the Calhoun County Tournament from the concourse of Pete Mathews Coliseum Monday. Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

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