By CHRIS HOBBS
CLAREMONT – Patrick Clark — an assistant coach at Maiden High for the last three seasons whose career also includes stints at North Gaston and Cherryville – is the next head football coach at Bunker Hill.
He has been an assistant football coaches for 13 seasons and only two of the teams he helped coach did not make the state playoffs (see list).
Clark’s move from Maiden to Bunker Hill was approved at a Monday night meeting of the Catawba County School Board of Education. He will continue to teach the same subject (physical education) in his new role at Bunker Hill.
Clark will debut as the Bears’ new leader on Aug. 17 when Newton-Conover visits Bunker Hill.
In a press release on Monday night confirming Clark’s hire, Bunker Hill principal Jeff Isenhour said: “Bunker Hill is excited about the selection of Coach Clark as our new head football coach. Coach Clark brings energy and a wealth of football knowledge to our athletic program at Bunker Hill.
“We are eager to have him join the program and believe he will have a tremendous impact with our athletes both on an off the field.”
The press release said Bunker Hill’s search for a new head coach took two months and the school received approximately 60 applications.
“I have coached against them (Bunker Hill) since I began my coaching career and from the outside looking in I have always thought that they could be very successful,” Clark said Monday night. “After my wife and I moved to Catawba County, I was able to gain a greater respect for community schools like Bunker Hill.
“Bunker Hill is a tight community that is very proud and supportive of their school and athletics. It reminds me a lot of my hometown. After some research, I felt this position would be a good fit for me and Bunker Hill.”
Clark, 41, replaces David Haynie, who is retiring after two seasons as the Bears’ head coach and 39 years in public education.
Bunker Hill went 2-11 in conference games and 2-20 overall under Haynie, including 1-10 overall and a 1-5 record in the Northwestern Foothills 2A last season to tie Draughn and East Burke for fifth place in a seven-school league.
Bunker Hill’s junior varsity team went 7-2 overall last season and, at 5-1, finished second to Hibriten in the Northwestern Foothills 2A.
Clark came to Maiden in 2015, leaving North Gaston to join the coaching staff of then-head coach Frank Snider at Maiden. He coached defensive linemen in 2015.
The past two years, Clark was been special teams coordinator for Blue Devils head coach Will Byrne, also coaching linebackers and tight ends in 2016 and defensive backs last season.
A native of Pulaski, Tenn., Clark played defensive back and was a placekicker at Giles County High — about 1 ½ hours south of Nashville — graduating in 1994 and then attending Martin Methodist College and then Tennessee (2001 graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters of Education degree).
Clark began coaching at John Chavis Middle School in Cherryville in 2001 and was there for four seasons before coaching at Cherryville under head coaches Richard Davis for one season (2005) and Keith Fox for five years (2006-2010). He was the head junior varsity coach for the Ironmen while coaching there.
Clark was out of coaching in 2011 and returned by joining the staff of Mike Patton, a second generation prep football head coach, at North Gaston. Clark was co-defensive coordinator for the Wildcats in 2012, also coaching outside linebackers, and coached defensive backs and was defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014.
He also has 13 years of experience as a soccer coach at Cherryville (nine years), North Gaston (two years) and Maiden (one year).
Leaving Maiden is bittersweet, Clark said.
“There’s a brotherhood there,” he said. “It is bittersweet but you’ve got to take that step to reach your goals… Once I got into coaching high school football and being a head JV coach it has been a goal of mine to be a head coach.”
Being able to stay in Catawba County also appealed to Clark, whose wife (Kristen) teaches Spanish at Fred T. Foard.
“The (Catawba County Schools), top to bottom, are great to work for,” Clark said.
Clark becomes the 10th head football coach at Bunker Hill, which played its first season (1959) under David Abernathy (see list for all Bears head coaches). He is the school’s fifth head coach since Randy Faucette retired in 1998 after 15 seasons.
He’s the third Bears head coach with ties to Maiden – former Blue Devils running back Mike McRee and former Blue Devils head coach Tom Brown were Bunker Hill head coaches from 1980-1985.
Lee Miller remains the only former Bears football player to be head football coach at his alma mater. Miller, now principal at Arndt Middle School, guided the Bears from 2001-2006.
THE BEARS’ FOOTBALL BOSSES
A look at Bunker Hill High head football coaches:
Coach Years Final season
David Abernathy 1 1959
Bob Starnes 20 1979
Mike McRee 2 1981
Tom Brown 4 1985
Randy Faucette 15 2000
Lee Miller 6 2006
Ron Turner 3 2009
Travis Conner 6 2015
Davie Haynie 2 2017
SOURCE: HobbsDailyReport.com research and files