OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen has announced the hiring of Jamie Clark as head coach of the Bluejay men's soccer program. Clark comes to Creighton after serving as the head coach at Harvard for the past two seasons, leading the Crimson to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first two seasons as a collegiate head coach. He becomes the sixth head men's soccer coach in school history and just the third since the program was restarted in 1990.
"Jamie Clark is one of the great young soccer minds in the country," said Rasmussen. "He is passionate and extremely intelligent about college soccer and has high character. Jamie is a great recruiter and has an outstanding relationship with his players. He is very much like (former Creighton head coaches) Bob Warming and Bret Simon. We look forward to a long and successful coaching career for Jamie at Creighton."
"It is a great honor to take over the Creighton men's soccer program," said Clark. "It is one of the premier places for soccer in the college game. More importantly, it's a university that gives its student-athletes the ultimate college experience, focusing on developing all facets of their lives. I'm proud to be a part of this university. What makes this program special is its importance to the school and community. We have a responsibility to be a team that people are proud of. I am looking forward to this challenge."
Clark's first head coaching job resulted in immediate success at Harvard, as he notched a 26-10-1 (.716) overall record, a 10-3-1 (.750) record in the Ivy League and a 14-2-0 (.875) home record in two seasons. In 2009 he was named the NSCAA Northeast Region Coach of the Year, guiding Harvard to a 14-4-1 overall record and the Ivy League championship with a 5-1-1 league mark. The Crimson earned the 10th-seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and advanced to the third round of the event for the first time since 1987. Harvard swept the Ivy League postseason awards, with NSCAA First-Team All-American Andre Akpan earning Player of the Year honors and Brian Rogers earning Rookie of the Year accolades. In his first season as a head coach, he led the Crimson to a 12-6-0 record and the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008.
"I had an incredible experience at Harvard and it took a very special opportunity to pull me away," said Clark. "After speaking with Bruce Rasmussen, I knew this was the place that I wanted to continue my coaching career. I'm following two fantastic coaches (Simon and Warming) and I hope to continue the fine tradition of Creighton soccer."
Prior to his two-year stint at Harvard, he was an assistant coach at Notre Dame for two seasons, working under his father, head coach Bobby Clark. The Fighting Irish reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in both of his seasons on the sidelines, compiling a 29-11-7 (.691) overall record and 15-3-4 (.727) mark in the Big East. While at Notre Dame, he helped develop some of the best players in the nation, including 2006 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy winner and Soccer America Player of the Year, Joseph Lapira. A pair of Irish players were also named to the NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-America Team.
In just the past four seasons, Clark has worked with seven players who have been selected in the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft, including Akpan and Kwaku Nyamekye this season. The pair of Harvard players were the only two Ivy League players selected in this year's draft and the fifth and sixth players chosen from Harvard in the history of the draft. Three of the six players drafted from Harvard all-time played under Clark.
Before his time at Notre Dame, Clark was an assistant coach at New Mexico for four seasons (2002-05). Working under head coach Jeremy Fishbein, Clark helped the UNM program reach new heights of success, including the 2005 NCAA National Championship match. Three of the four teams Clark worked with at UNM advanced to the NCAA Tournament and the Lobos posted a 61-16-8 (.765) record in his four seasons in Albuquerque.
Clark is a 1999 Stanford graduate, where he was a two-time All-American and played for his father from 1996-98. As a junior in 1998, he became the first NSCAA First-Team All-American in the history of Cardinal soccer. His 1998 team not only captured the first NCAA Tournament win in program history, but the Cardinal also advanced to the College Cup final, finishing as national runners-up.
Following his collegiate career, Clark played two seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS after he was taken in the second round of the draft as the 21st overall pick by the club - becoming the first student-athlete in Stanford history drafted into MLS.
Clark, 33, replaces Bob Warming who left last month for the same position at Penn State. He takes over a storied Creighton men's soccer program, which appeared in 17 consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 1992 through 2008, before finishing the 2009 season with a 7-4-5 record to just narrowly miss its 18th straight bid. The 2010 Bluejays return first-team all-region forward and 2009 leading scorer Ethan Finlay as well as 2009 MVC Freshman of the Year Dion Acoff.
The Bluejays open their 2010 regular-season at Loyola Chicago on Sept. 1. Clark, who was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and grew up in Hanover, N.H., will coach in his first regular-season home match at Morrison Stadium on Sept. 4 when the Jays host UNC Greensboro.