One of the parody commercials at the 2012 O.S.C.A.R.S. (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements & Recognition Showcase) - the introduction of IRIS - who sound remarkably similar to head men's soccer coach Bobby Clark.
The #14 Notre Dame Men's Soccer team defeated #3 Louisville, 1-0, at Alumni Field on September 24.
Bobby Clark's formula for success and his reputation for assembling winning teams are evident after 12 seasons at Notre Dame. The charismatic and affable Irish leader has guided his Notre Dame teams to 11 NCAA Championship appearances, two BIG EAST tournament titles (2003 & 2012) and three BIG EAST regular-season crowns (2004, 2007 & 2008).
Notre Dame reached new heights within the program by advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship for the first time ever in 2006 and made a repeat appearance in 2007.
Since coming to Notre Dame in January of 2001, Clark, a native of Scotland, has engineered a great turnaround. In the two seasons prior to his arrival, the Irish suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 1999 and 2000 with a combined 15-17-5 record. Under Clark, Notre Dame is an impressive 153-68-35 (.666).
Clark, a two-time BIG EAST coach of the year, became Notre Dame's all-time wins leader during the 2011 campaign. The Fighting Irish have posted a winning record every season under Clark, including a double-digit win total in 11 of his 12 seasons in South Bend. For his dedication and commitment to the Fighting Irish men's soccer program, the Notre Dame Monogram Club awarded Clark with an honorary monogram in June of 2011.
Winning has been synonymous with Clark wherever he has been. His 26-year resume has produced a glossy .676 winning percentage. Clark's teams have posted a 306-131-60 mark during his collegiate coaching tenure. Prior to becoming Notre Dame's fifth head coach, he had successful coaching stints at Dartmouth (1985-93) and Stanford (1996-2000).
Clark's penchant for developing talent is evident in the fact that Notre Dame has produced 65 all-BIG EAST selections from 36 different players. In addition, he has mentored eight All-Americans with the Irish, including 2006 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner Joseph Lapira. Lapira also was a finalist for the award in 2007 and Ryan Finley became the program's third finalist in 2012.
Lapira and Finley are two of the three Fighting Irish players that have been named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year under Clark's guidance. Lapira, a two-time All-America honoree, was the league's offensive player of the year in 2006, while Bright Dike took home the honor in 2009. Finley copped the award in 2012.
The Fighting Irish have had 25 Major League Soccer (MLS) draft picks during Clark's 12 seasons at Notre Dame. The Irish have produced 14 MLS SuperDraft picks since 2008. That is the most from any school during that time span.
In 2009, Matt Besler became the highest MLS draft pick in Notre Dame history as he was selected eighth overall by the Kansas City Wizards. Besler was named a 2011 MLS All-Star, becoming the first Irish alum to garner that distinction. Former Irish standout Justin Morrow, a 2010 graduate, was an MLS All-Star selection in 2012.
Besler and Morrow also established another first for the Fighting Irish men's soccer program when they became the first Notre Dame alums to earn a cap with the United States Senior National Team. The duo started a friendly versus Canada on Jan. 29, 2013.
Clark has mentored several players that have a wide-range of experience on the international level. Ryan Nelsen, who played for Clark at Stanford, captained New Zealand during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Another one of Clark's former Stanford players, Simon Elliott, joined Nelsen on the New Zealand World Cup squad.
Notre Dame's Dillon Powers and Aaron Maund both were members of the United States team that competed at the 2009 U-20 World Cup in Egypt. In August of 2010, Powers was named the MVP of the Milk Cup Tournament as he helped lead the U.S. U-20 squad to the title with a 3-0 record. Greg Dalby, a 2007 Notre Dame graduate and current Fighting Irish assistant coach, captained Team USA as they won Group D during the 2005 U-20 World Cup.
In 2007, Lapira earned a cap with the Ireland Senior National Team during a friendly against Ecuador. Dike has played in multiple games with the Nigerian National Team. He became the first Notre Dame alum to score a goal for a senior national team as he deposited the equalizer in a friendly against Catalonia on Jan. 2, 2013.
All of those players are on the long-list of former Clark pupils that have played or currently are playing professionally both in the United States and overseas.
Along with his international coaching experience in New Zealand, Clark also coached in Africa and in his native Scotland. In Zimbabwe, he was Director of Coaching with the Bulawayo Highlanders in the Zimbabwean Super League for the 1983-84 season. In Scotland, he was the Youth coach with Aberdeen F.C. in the Scottish Premier League. He was also one of the Scottish Football Association's staff coaches.
Prior to coaching, Clark enjoyed a distinguished professional career in the Scottish League. From 1962-82, he made more than 800 first-team appearances, 696 of which were with the Aberdeen Dons from 1965-1982. With the Dons, Clark won the 1970 Scottish Cup, the 1976 League Cup and the 1980 Premier League Championship. Clark, who represented Scotland at every level of professional soccer, was involved in three of Scotland's World Cup campaigns as a player in 1970, 1974 and 1978, contributing to the Scottish squad that advanced to the finals of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.
Clark's success in Aberdeen is legendary. In '02, he was honored by the team as one of its top-25 members of all-time. In two Scottish off-seasons, Clark played professionally for the Washington Whips of the United Soccer Association (1967), and the San Antonio Thunder of the North American Soccer League (1976). In February of 2009, Clark saw his 38-year British record for consecutive scoreless minutes snapped by Manchester United's Edwin Van der Sar. Clark went 1,155 minutes without allowing a goal while playing with the Aberdeen Dons during the 1970-71 Scottish first division season.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Clark graduated from Jordanhill College in 1967. He and his wife Bette have three children: Tommy, Jennifer and Jamie.
Tommy, a 1992 graduate of Dartmouth, earned a bachelor's degree in English. He was a regional All-American while playing with the Big Green - and played professional soccer in Zimbabwe, New Zealand and New Mexico. He and his wife are graduates of the Medical School at Dartmouth. They have two children, Hugh and Annabell. Tommy is the founder and CEO of Grassroot Soccer, an international AIDS awareness and education organization that reaches youth in Africa through soccer clinics.
Jennifer, a 1994 Dartmouth graduate, served as an assistant for three years to former Stanford women's soccer head coach Steve Swanson. She also spent time as an assistant women's soccer coach at Middlebury College. Jennifer is married to former Notre Dame assistant men's tennis coach Mike Morgan. The couple has three children, Tamhas, Rory and Mhairi.
Clark's youngest son, Jamie, graduated from Stanford in 1999. A two-time All-American, he played professionally for the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) and Raith Rovers in Scotland. After serving as an assistant coach under his father for two years at Notre Dame (2006 & 2007), Jamie accepted the head coaching position at Harvard University. Following two successful seasons with the Crimson, he was at the helm of the Creighton University program during the 2010 campaign before taking the head coaching job at the University of Washington in January of 2011. He and his wife, Kate, have one daughter, Noel.
Jamie is just one of the coaches who has worked under the elder Clark that is now at the helm of their own program. Wiese currently is the head coach at Georgetown University, while Avery has the same position at Valparaiso University. University of Rhode Island head coach John O'Connor worked under Clark at Dartmouth as did Geoff Wheeler, who is the head coach at Wesleyan University.
The Bobby Clark File
Youth Coach, Aberdeen F.C. Scottish Premier League
Director of Coaching, Bulawayo Highlanders, Zimbabwe Super League