Clark earns Coach of the Year honor
Even when the South Stokes head basketball coach wins an award for the amazing turnaround the Sauras have had this season, he’s not the kind of guy to give all the credit to himself without crediting his players first.
Clark, who is in his fifth varsity season with the Sauras, won the Northwest 1A/2A Conference Coach of the Year award at the conclusion of the conference tournament last Friday at West Stokes High School.
“This is more of a team award rather than an individual award,” said Clark. “I couldn’t have done this without these kids. They’ve worked hard for me all season long. I’m just a small piece of the puzzle. I’m lucky to coach a good group of kids.”
Clark coached the Sauras to a third place finish in the conference this season, a year after a 5-18 season. He has coached them to the second round of the NCHSAA 2-A state playoffs after beating Thomasville in the opening round on Monday night.
After last year’s disappointing season, the Sauras were picked to finish dead last in the Northwest Conference at the beginning of this 2010-11 season, something senior Cole Greene said Clark reminded his team of that and used it as motivation.
“We knew from the very beginning that we weren’t a last place team,” said Greene. “Coach Clark kept telling us about how we were picked to finish last and I think we used it as motivation. I think it made everyone work a little bit harder because we wanted to prove the doubters wrong.”
Clark says that between last season and this season, he didn’t really do anything differently when it came it to coaching.
“The biggest thing was that these guys started buying into our system,” said Clark. “They started doing things for the betterment of the team. These guys bought into the team aspect. Once they started playing as a team, the wins started coming. It’s easy to stop one guy, but it’s hard to stop seven guys playing together. I’m very proud of my kids. I couldn’t have gotten this without them.”
Sauras, Wildcats and Vikings highlight All-Conference teams
The West Stokes trio of Austin Fleming, Jacob Nunn and Andrew Smith were named to the All-Conference team for the Northwest 1A/2A Conference.
Joining them is the South Stokes trio of Nick Adams, Cole Greene and Jaron Withers. North Stokes’ Matt Hopkins was also named to the All-Conference squad.
Honorable mention nods went to Will Bennett and Luke Hunter (West Stokes), Chris Hairston and Josh Wright (South Stokes) and Ryan Wilson and Austin Tilley (North Stokes).
The conference’s Player of the Year award went to Jerran Foster of Winston-Salem Prep. Foster led the Phoenix to the tournament championship victory over West Stokes last Friday.