Bobby Clark, the one-time Dartmouth College men’s soccer coach, heads into retirement having grown a significant coaching tree.
Clark announced his retirement from college coaching last week, ending a 31-year run that included eight seasons in Hanover (1985-93), his first sideline assignment following a storied Scottish football-playing career.
Already a community that supported the sport when he arrived, Hanover went soccer-goofy in Clark’s presence: As the Dartmouth men reached two NCAA quarterfinals, youth soccer got a boost with the Upper Valley Lightning program Clark supported.
“The obvious ones are the college coaches, but it’s more important to look beyond that, as Bobby did, to those who stayed in some capacity: club coaches, recreational coaches.
“I thought it would be nice, rather than be coaching a college soccer game on our anniversary, to do something else,” Clark said.
When we were in Seattle, an old Scottish lad, Bill Logie, asked my assistant if he had anyone involved in coaching who would be interested in coming back the next year to do some coaching with local youths.
The rest is history: eight seasons with the Big Green, two years with the New Zealand national program, followed by a return to American college coaching at Stanford and Notre Dame.
“You’d look at Bobby and say, ‘I want to be him; I want to do that,’ ” said Georgetown coach Brian Wiese, a Dartmouth graduate who tended net for Clark’s final three seasons in Hanover and who later assisted Clark at Stanford.
In the decade-plus since his 2004 graduation, as he has grown from one of Clark’s coaching seeds into a capable tree of his own, Riley has taken comfort in knowing his mentor was still at Notre Dame’s helm.
Bobby Clark is leaving soccer, but soccer will never leave Bobby Clark.