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.
There was nothing unlucky about Bobby Clark's 13th season on the University of Notre Dame sidelines as he guided the Fighting Irish to the 2013 NCAA title, the first for the program. Winning the national championship was the latest achievement on a long-list of impressive accomplishments during an amazing playing and coaching career for the Scotland native.
Since coming to Notre Dame in January of 2001, Clark has engineered a great turnaround. In the two seasons prior to his arrival, the program suffered consecutive losing campaigns, but under Clark Notre Dame has compiled a winning record every season en route to an impressive 170-69-41 (.680) mark and the Fighting Irish have been ranked in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) top-25 poll in 11 of Clark's 13 seasons.
Clark wasted little time in bringing the Notre Dame program back into the national forefront. In his first season in 2001, the Irish flourished under his guidance and earned an NCAA Championship berth for the first time since 1996. That was the first of 12 NCAA tournament appearances during Clark's first 13 seasons at Notre Dame. The charismatic and affable Fighting Irish leader also has led his Notre Dame squads to two BIG EAST tournament titles (2003 & 2012), three BIG EAST regular-season crowns (2004, 2007 & 2008) and a share of the 2013 ACC regular-season championship in the program's first season in the challenging league.
Notre Dame finished the national title-winning 2013 campaign with a remarkable 17-1-6 record while playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country. The Irish opened the season with a 13-game unbeaten streak, which catapulted them to No. 1 in the national polls for the first time in program history. After suffering their lone loss of the season to Virginia, 2-0, the Fighting Irish finished the campaign with a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) and outscored their opponents 25-8 during that stretch en route to the title. In their five-game run through the NCAA tournament, the Fighting Irish owned a 14-4 scoring advantage over their competition.
Winning has been synonymous with Clark wherever he has been. His 27-year resume has produced a glossy .683 winning percentage. Clark's teams have posted a 323-132-66 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 became Notre Dame's all-time wins leader during the 2011 campaign. 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.
Regarded as one of the premier tacticians of the game, Clark has built a reputation of being a true players' coach; he's an individual who relates easily to the needs of his players both on and off the field. Clark also has shown that he is very capable of reloading talent without having his team miss a beat on the field. Clark and his staff have consistently brought in nationally-ranked recruiting classes that keep the Fighting Irish in contention for league and national success year in and year out.
Notre Dame Highlights:
2013 National Championship
12 NCAA Tournament Appearances in 13 Seasons
2013 ACC Regular-Season Co-Champions
2013 ACC Coach of the Year
2 BIG EAST Tournament Titles (2003 & 2012)
3 BIG EAST Regular-Season Titles (2004, 2007, 2008)
2-Time BIG EAST Coach of the Year (2001 & 2004)
12 NSCAA All-America Selections
26 First Team All-Conference Selections
8 Conference Players of the Year
7 Academic All-Americans
13 NSCAA Scholar All-America Selections
23 MLS SuperDraft Picks
16 MLS SuperDraft Picks Since 2008
Joseph Lapira - 2006 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Winner
Matt Besler - 2008 NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Harrison Shipp - 2013 NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year
THE STANFORD & DARTMOUTH YEARS
Prior to being named head coach at Notre Dame, Clark spent five seasons at Stanford where he produced the most successful era in the history of the Cardinal program. When he arrived on the Palo Alto, Calif., campus, he inherited a team that had produced consecutive 5-12 campaigns and had not posted a winning record in four years. In his five seasons at Stanford, Clark turned the program around, creating a consistent national powerhouse.
As Director of Soccer, Clark oversaw both the Cardinal men's and women's programs and specifically served as the head coach of the men's program. In his five seasons at the helm of the Cardinal men, Clark compiled a 71-21-12 (.740) record and guided Stanford to the NCAA Championship each of his last four years (1997-2000), and his 1998 squad was the national runner-up.
His final season with the Cardinal, the 2000 campaign, ranked as one of the most successful in Stanford history. The 18-3-1 record matched the school standard for wins in a season (tying the mark set by his '98 team). His teams spent two weeks ranked No. 1 in the country, marking the first time Stanford had ever been atop a collegiate poll in men's soccer. The Cardinal had 13 players win all-Pac-10 accolades. Included in that number was Nelsen, who was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, as well as the NSCAA/adidas Collegiate Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In NCAA play, Clark's team defeated Cal State Fullerton (4-0) and Illinois-Chicago (6-0) before falling in the quarterfinals to SMU (2-1).
Clark led Stanford to its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance in 1999 and the season ended in the first round as Santa Clara won a penalty kick shootout following a 2-2 draw.
The 1998 season saw Clark direct the best season in the history of Stanford soccer. Not only did the Cardinal win its first NCAA tournament match, it advanced three steps further to the NCAA title game. Stanford fell to Indiana, 3-1, in the final to finish with a No. 2 national ranking. The team won a school-record 18 matches (18-5-2), surpassing the mark of 16 wins recorded in 1978. Following the season, Clark's son Jamie became the first Cardinal to be named to the NSCAA All-America First Team.
In his first season at Stanford in 1996, Clark led the Cardinal to a 10-4-4 record, its first winning season since 1992, and was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Mountain (MPSF) Division Coach of the Year.
The 1997 campaign was a break-out year for the program as Stanford posted a 13-5-2 record, earned its first MPSF Mountain Division title, its first top-10 ranking and its first trip to the NCAA Championship in five years. Following the 1997 season, Clark was named NSCAA Far West Region Coach of the Year and garnered MPSF Mountain Division coach-of-the-year honors for the second consecutive season.
Clark began his collegiate coaching career as the head coach at Dartmouth College from 1985-93. In nine seasons, Clark compiled an 82-42-13 record (.646) and led the Big Green to three Ivy titles (`88, '90 and '92) and a pair of NCAA quarterfinal appearances. Clark's Dartmouth teams were ranked in the top-10 for four consecutive seasons, and he was twice named the NSCAA Region I Coach of the Year (1990, `92). His `90 team finished eighth in the final Intercollegiate Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
INTERNATIONAL COACHING & PLAYING CAREER
Prior to arriving at Stanford, Clark compiled an impressive soccer background as both coach and player. From 1994-96, as head coach of the New Zealand National Team, he produced a 21-12-3 mark while working with the Senior National Team and the Olympic squad along with the U-20 and U-17 teams. For his efforts, Clark was awarded the 1995 Jim McCullen Trophy, given by the New Zealand national media to the person who did the most for New Zealand soccer.
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.
THE CLARK FAMILY
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. Castleton State (Vt.) 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