Bartlett System Athletic Director Phil Clark Named Lifetime Achievement Award

Phil Clark remembers the 1995 U.S. Junior World Championships like it was yesterday. He was the baseball coach for the under-18 team, which went on to defeat Chinese Taipei for the gold medal.

Standing in front of a crowd of more than 20,000 at the newly built baseball stadium in Taiwan, Clark said he would never forget hearing the national anthem with the United States inscribed on his jersey and a medal. gold hung around his neck.

“It was quite an environment,” Clark said. “I will never forget that as long as I live.”

While it’s his most memorable achievement, it’s one of many milestones Clark has achieved as a decorated Memphis coach. And one of the many reasons he is this year’s Commercial Appeal Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

He will be honored at the Memphis Area High School Sports Awards presented by Farm Bureau Health Plans at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Orpheum Theater during the annual ceremony that honors the area’s top high school athletes in the 2021-22 school year. . Tickets for the show can be purchased on Ticketmaster

Clark’s career as a baseball coach began at the now closed Skyview Academy. At 24, he resumed the program and began his illustrious career. More than three decades, nearly 1,000 career wins and five state championships later, his impact is still being felt in the baseball community.

He spent eight years at Skyview before returning to the Germantown program in 1988. At Germantown, his career took off.

Clark, who is now the system athletic director at Bartlett, won state championships in 1995 and 2001, including a perfect 38-0 record in 1995 and a declaration as the No. 1 team in the nation.

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He won 456 games in Germantown and amassed over 600 wins before leaving for Bartlett in 2003. His success followed him there as well.

Clark won 321 games during his 10 years there and his last state championship in 2007.

With 973 career wins, Clark was ready for a new challenge and to make an impact away from baseball. It started with a conversation.

Phil Clark poses with a trophy after the World Junior Baseball Championships in the United States.

“To tell you the truth, Dr. David Stephens is the superintendent (at Bartlett),” Clark said. “After interviews and he was nominated, he spoke to me at a football game at the time and was like, ‘What do you see?’ ”

“At the time, we were the largest suburb in Shelby County and we were also the second smallest school in Shelby County.”

He persisted in his efforts to become one of the first system athletic directors in the Memphis area. He said that at that time athletic directors in the system were not common and that arguing Bartlett’s case was a year-long process.

When he was finally hired in 2013, he immediately showed the importance of the profession. He helped increase enrollment at Bartlett, he helped improve facilities, including a new soccer field and on-campus gymnasium.

“Everything has improved since he took over,” Bartlett’s baseball coach Joshua Stewart said. “He’s been there long enough and doing things the right way, so he’s able to help a lot of young coaches.”

Clark added: “Instead of just being involved in one sport, I wanted to do what I could to help all sports.”

And Bartlett was better because of it.

Many of his former players went on to play professional baseball, and a few are still in the Memphis area as high school coaches.

Collins Day, Houston’s assistant coach, played on Clark’s national championship team. Jeff Munier, the Collierville coach who played in the 2022 state tournament, is also linked to Clark.

What Clark has done as a coach and athletic director cannot be overlooked.

“His influence on sports and baseball in particular has been incredible for this city,” said Stewart, who also coached under Clark at Bartlett before taking over.

And although he has helped improve athletics and baseball in the Memphis area, his tenure as administrator will soon be coming to an end.

“It was a good race,” Clark said. “I still have one school year and then I will stop on July 1st.

“I’ll be 66 when I retire and it’s been a good race. That’s how I see it. »

Contact Wynston Wilcox at [email protected] and on Twitter @wynstonw__.

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