Oct. 2, 2013
What do you find if you walk into the office of a University of Notre Dame head coach? What’s on the walls often provides some insight into the past, the interests and the philosophies of each of those individuals. During the 2013-14 athletic season, we’ll take you into each of those offices and show and tell you about some items of significance and why they are meaningful.
Considering University of Notre Dame men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark was born and raised in Scotland and has both played (extremely successfully) and coached there and elsewhere around the world, it’s hardly surprising to find an international flair to his Joyce Center office:
- Take a hard right in the interior office and the first photograph you find on the wall is a color team photo of the Soccer New Zealand 1996 team (Under 23 All-Whites squad) that competed in the Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament with Clark as its head coach. Four players from that squad competed in the last World Cup for either New Zealand or South Africa.
- Just above it is a black-and-white shot from 1983 when Clark coached the Bulawayo Highlanders in the Zimbabwe (in southern Africa) Super League.
- To the left of his desk, there are three images of Clark in action as a player. There’s a black-and-white shot of a Scotland-Belgium game from 1972 in the European Cup (Scotland won 1-0). There’s another from the 1970 Scottish Cup final in which his Aberdeen side defeated Celtic 3-1. Finally, there’s a color close-up of Clark playing for Scotland.
“There’s something from just about everywhere I’ve been,” says Clark.
There’s plenty more to see on the walls:
- A dozen framed photos of former academic adviser Mary Ann Spence with senior members of each of his Notre Dame teams.
- A color shot of Notre Dame’s 2007 spring match against Mexico. The Mexico player in the image (next to Michael Thomas of the Irish) is Javier Hernandez, who now plays for Manchester United in the English Premier League. Hernandez plays with the name Chicharito (“little pea” in Spanish) on his shirt.
- The honorary monogram he received in 2011 from the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
- An Alumni Stadium collage.
- A photo of his current Irish captains (#20 Grant Van De Casteele, #12 Andrew O’Malley and #15 Harrison Shipp).
“I always have a picture of my current team captains,” Clark says. “That’s the one thing that changes every year.”
- A framed collage noting his 100th win at Notre Dame on Sept. 26, 2008–a 3-0 victory over Cincinnati. It’s also worth noting that his 100th overall triumph came during his Stanford years–and also came on Sept. 26 (which happens to be his birthday).
- An item presented to him by his Stanford team, with a large “S” formed by dozens of tiny images.
- A team photo combined with other shots from Dartmouth’s 1988 Ivy League champion squad coached by Clark.
“It was Dartmouth’s 100-year soccer celebration, and the player featured in the middle wearing number seven is Andrew Shue who played Billy Campbell on Melrose Place. His older sister Elisabeth does quite a lot of acting as well,” Clark says.
- Another plaque noting Notre Dame’s BIG EAST Conference 2011 Team Fair Play award.
- There’s a color team photo on the back wall from Clark’s 1976 San Antonio Thunder squad from the North American Soccer League (NASL). Clark is kneeling in the middle of the front row.
- A plaque honoring Matt Besler as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s 2008 National Collegiate Scholar-Athlete.
“I came over in the summer because the European season was August to April and so the American season was the offseason there,” says Clark.
In addition, there’s a ball from Notre Dame’s Sept. 11, 2011, victory over Bucknell that gave Clark 129 wins and made him the winningest coach in Irish men’s soccer history.
There’s more to be found in the outer office:
- A collage of shots of former Irish coach Mike Berticelli and a plaque listing years and winners of the team’s annual Bert Award.
- Plaques from the NSCAA signifying Irish poll rankings in 2003-04-05-06-07-08-10-12.
- Three autographed team photos, including one from the 2003 BIG EAST championship squad.
- NSCAA Team Academic Award plaques from 2010, 2011 and 2012.
All this combines to provide a series of snapshots of a playing and coaching career that has taken Clark around the globe and spanned more than half a century.
As a head coach at Dartmouth (1985-93), Stanford (1996-2000) and now Notre Dame (2001-current), he has firmly established himself as one of the elite coaches at the NCAA level.
Yet none of it indicates the most recent successes of Clark’s Irish squads — the number-one NCAA Championship seed from the 2012 postseason bracket and a number-one ranking from earlier this fall.
And, so, maybe the best is yet to come.
— John Heisler, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations