Beth Clark is hoping to bring some stability to the Assiniboine Community College Cougars athletics program.
Since Cougars athletics was formed, people have filled in as acting athletic director on top of their regular duties with the college, but that all changed Wednesday when Clark was announced as the full-time athletic manager. The 26-year-old Regina native will focus a lot of her energy on recruiting student-athletes and helping them succeed, and she’s excited to be in her new position.
"I think it’s a huge step for this school," Clark said. "They’re putting some emphasis on their athletics programs and there’s a lot of support from the faculty and the college and admin and everyone. It’s been really supportive so far, and I think it means the recruiting for the school has just broadened to a whole new level."
Clark comes with a lot of experience. She spent five seasons as a starting middle for the University of Regina Cougars women’s volleyball team, while earning a degree in business administration.
Clark, who was named a second-team all-Canadian in 2010, spent a year training with the national women’s volleyball team, representing Canada at the 2011 World University Games, and played professionally in Sweden before moving to Brandon and becoming a housing co-ordinator for the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation.
As a former student-athlete, Clark knows the stresses that come with trying to be a high-level athlete and maintaining a grade-point average that allows them to play. Having student-athletes maintain their average has been a problem the past few seasons at ACC as neither the basketball nor volleyball teams completed their seasons last year due to player ineligibility.
Clark does not want to see players have issues with their grades again, and she hopes being on staff full time will help alleviate that problem.
"Part of it is supporting our athletes in any way that’s possible," Clark said. "If that’s helping get tutors or whatever the case may be, that will be part of my job. I think with student-athletes, the student comes first. We need to make sure they’re academically eligible and make sure the supports are there to compete at a high level as well."
This school year, ACC has men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball teams competing in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference, but will not compete in basketball this year.
Clark admits there will be a bit of a learning curve for her new position, but she’s looking forward to helping the Cougars compete for MCAC titles in the future.
"It will take a little while to get my feet wet," she said. "I have a good opportunity here to make a difference and I just need to take it as it comes."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 26, 2013