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Leading by Example

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Senior Jimmy Clark is a standout, on and off the Tiger basketball court

by James Hill '76

Trinity senior Jimmy Clark is a hard-working leader of the Tiger men’s basketball team.

The 6-foot-3 Clark, who hails from Rockford, Illinois, had to work especially hard to earn a position on the squad. He was forced to sit out his freshman year because of knee surgery, and received a medical redshirt.

But, after countless and intense workouts in Sams Gym - often on his own time - Clark became a starter the next season. He got the starting nod from head Coach Pat Cunningham for the final five games of the 2012-13 campaign, which included a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship, and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

The tireless “iron man” played all 29 games of the 2013-14 schedule, which produced another SCAC title and a trip to the NCAA tournament. Clark believes his perseverance and determination are not lost on this year’s Tiger team, which has a host of younger players.

“I think it’s just by example,” Clark responded, when asked how he provides leadership for the current crop of Tigers. “You have to practice what you preach. I’m in the gym every day, and I don’t think it goes unnoticed. I reach out to the younger players when I see the opportunity to bring them to the gym. Sometimes I just hang out with them, and I think it helps them on the court.”

There is another aspect to Jimmy Clark - his strong academic performance.

Last July, Clark was named to the prestigious National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court - along with 10 of his teammates - which requires a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. His credentials also include five semesters on Trinity’s Dean’s List, and three selections for the SCAC Academic Honor Roll.

Clark had plenty of wiggle room to make the Honors Court, as his GPA is 3.842. Clark will receive a bachelor’s degree in May in business administration, with a concentration in finance, as well as with an interdisciplinary second major in global health management.

The latter project took some extra work, as Clark customized his own program. He devised his curriculum, which had to be approved by two different councils, with the assistance of three faculty advisers.

“I have a passion for health and wellness, and my career goal is to get into hospital administration,” Clark said. “I think adding a global aspect makes me more marketable. It offers more opportunities once I get into my career.”

Clark also has a passion for community service, which includes volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters (sharing knowledge with aspiring players, as he put it), serving on Trinity’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and helping coach his uncle’s local youth club basketball team.

“Jimmy is extremely focused and a very hard worker,” Cunningham said. “He came back his junior year to compete with a senior-laden team for significant minutes. Jimmy should be a starter, a leader, and a key component of this year’s team.”

James Hill '76 is the Assistant to the Director of Trinity University Athletics. You can reach James at jhill2 [at] trinity.edu.