Coach Q&A: Cal’s Jack Clark
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – March 27, 2017 – Cal’s Head Coach Jack Clark has coached the Golden Bears to four straight victories at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship. The west coast-based team has participate in the CRCs every year since it’s birth in 2010, and this year Clark will make his seventh appearance on the field.
Clark himself played on the team between 1976-78 and began coaching in 1984. Currently he has won 27 combined national championships to date, and as of now has a contract with the University of California through 2021. Recently Coach Clark made some time speak with us.
Your CRC accomplishments aside, your team has had so much success, do you have any long term goals from here? What motivates you?
As a coaching staff we just try and do our part to kind of help each of these teams fulfill their destiny and play as well as they can play and reach their potential. It’s almost a new group of guys every year and there’s obviously some carry over from year-to-year, but they all matriculate through in four years. So the teams are maturely different each year and they have different potentials, and to a certain degree different elective personalities so it’s pretty fresh, really. The idea that the team did well 30 years or 20 years ago or has done well in the last few years, that really doesn’t have a lot of bearing on the guys that are trying to do well this year. We really try to put everything into their dreams and aspirations.
Your team is so well known now, are you just overwhelmed with entries or how do you handle that every year?
Well no. I mean it’s a tough admissions spot, right? There’s a hundred-thousand wonderfully qualified applicants that are trying to get one of four thousand places. So it’s challenging that way, right? I think there’s interest. There’s enough people that want to come and pursue an opportunity at Cal. But we’re not going to be able to pick the best players in the country because most of them aren’t going to be right for our opportunity, you know?…They couldn’t afford it or it’s just not where they want to go to school.
Two of yours star, Anthony Salaber and Russell Webb have both stayed at Cal five years rather than the typical four to spend more time on the rugby team. Is that typical for your team?
I would say maybe a third of the guys take a fifth year. You know, some guys would graduate in three and a half- we’ve had that before. Some slow the pace down and since they have a fifth year of [rugby] eligibility they take it. But I would say most guys don’t the majority of the guys are done in four.
When you first heard about the platform of the CRCs launching in 2010 did you immediately want to get involved?
Well you know we were hopeful to get an invitation no doubt. We had won some 15s championships prior to that, so we thought that we would get an invite. We did and it was good from the start. I think it’s been much better in Philadelphia, it was only in Ohio one year and Philadelphia is such a wonderful, big, east coast city and it feels fantastic. I know our team enjoys being downtown and enjoys being out at the stadium and enjoys the whole trip.
How does your team handle the jet lag?
We’re there several days prior to starting competition so there’s no issue. We’ve had some warm, muggy days. It’s that time of year so we’ve had some- you know there’s- you have to get acclimated to that. That’s not really the kind of weather we would have in California and so there’s a bit of acclimation. But no, not really. What’s great about the CRCs is it’s a really well run tournament. Everything happens on time, when it’s supposed to happen and that allows the teams really to go in and just play some ball.