Release Date: 10/10/2006
Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks Baseball Coach Jimmy Clark has been named the university's director of athletics, effective Jan. 1, 2007.
Clark, who will continue coaching baseball, will replace Dave De Hart, who resigned last week to focus on his duties as the men’s soccer coach at Ozarks.
“I am pleased that Jimmy Clark has agreed to assume the duties of athletics director,” said Ozarks President Dr. Rick Niece. “Coach Clark will be an excellent AD, and he brings a variety of talents and skills to the position. Coach De Hart was also exceptional as AD, and he will be a valuable asset to Coach Clark as he transitions into the position. Our athletic department is in good hands.”
Clark, entering his sixth season as the Eagles’ baseball coach, will oversee the university’s 10-sport, NCAA Division III program. A native of Conway, Ark., Clark has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Central Arkansas and a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to lead our athletic program and look forward to working with the coaches on our staff,” said Clark, who coached at Heber Springs High School before coming to Ozarks. “I want to help our entire program improve and be the best we can be. My father was in school administration for more than 40 years and I have a brother who is a school administrator, so I’ve been around it my entire life. I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading the athletic department.”
Clark said one of his priorities will be to improve community support for the athletic program.
“Clarksville is a wonderful community to live in and to raise a family in,” Clark said. “I would
love to get the community excited about athletics at the university again and I think we can do that.”
More than 25 percent of the U of O student body competes in athletics, something that Clark said shows the importance of the sports program at the university.
“A lot of these kids come here to get a great education and to play sports,” he said. “That’s why it’s our responsibility to do the best job we can of putting good, competitive programs on the field. I know we’re a Division III program and we don’t offer (athletic) scholarships, but I want to win. Our goal will be to win as many games and conference championships as we can win as an athletic department.”
In five seasons at Ozarks, Clark’s baseball teams have averaged 15.4 victories a season, a major turnaround for a program that averaged just four victories a season in the previous four seasons before he arrived. He was named the 2005 American Southwest Conference East Division Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to a record of 22-18, the program’s first winning season in nine years. His teams have averaged 20.5 victories over the past two seasons. Clark has also coached 20 all-conference players, 29 academic all-conference players, and five academic all-American players at Ozarks.
Clark and his wife, Kelli, have two sons, Dax, 9, and Cole, 5.