Nov. 19, 2005
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- After only three and a half seasons at the University of Tennessee, J.J. Clark has been recognized for an amazing 11th time during that span for his coaching abilities in cross country and track & field. The latest accolade came Saturday night, as the Lady Vol skipper was named the USTCA South Region Women's Coach of the Year at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships Banquet at Indiana State University's Hulman Center.
Clark, who has piloted the UT harriers to a school-best 122-5 record, their third straight Southeastern Conference title and their fourth consecutive NCAA South Region crown this fall, collected the honor for the fourth time in as many seasons and for the fifth time in his 14-year coaching career. His other award came while directing the University of Florida program from 1992 to 2001, when he paced the Gators to 1997 and 1998 region titles and earned coach of the year kudos after the first of those victories.
During his initial four years at the controls of the women's cross country team in Knoxville, Clark has directed his squad to a sparkling 84-0 record in NCAA South Region meets. In that span, nine of his runners have earned a total of 16 All-South Region certificates.
On Thursday of this week, Clark also was named SEC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year for the third straight season and for the fifth time in his career. With sweeps of SEC and South Region hardware in 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2005, plus regional awards in 1998 and 2002, the fourth-year Big Orange skipper now has 10 cross country coach of the year nods to his credit. Add in four more awards for his work with Tennessee's track program last season, and Clark has been honored 14 times by his colleagues between his stints with his current and former employer.
In addition to leading his team to school-record victory totals in each of the past three seasons, Clark became the program's all-time winningest coach in 2005. He possesses a 401-95-1 won-lost record and has produced victories at a clip of .808 percent.
On Monday, Clark will put his troops through their paces one final time this season. His 15th-ranked Lady Vols will be making their fourth straight appearance at the NCAA Championship meet and the ninth in school annals. He directed UT to outcomes of 28th, 24th and 21st at the past three national meets and will be looking for great improvement when Team Orange hits the 6,000-meter layout at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at 1:15 p.m. Eastern Time.