Damian Clarke has experienced his share of success at the MSU Soccer Field.
Now, he is looking forward to adding more great memories as part of the home team after he was announced as the fourth head coach of the Midwestern State women's soccer program Monday morning.
Clarke was part of a Fort Lewis College team which claimed a 3-0 win over Midwestern State during his senior season on 1998 in Wichita Falls, was on the bench when the Skyhawks claimed their first men's national championship in 2005 at the MSU Soccer Field then his women's side took a 3-0 decision in the 2012 season opener in The Falls.
"I have had a lot of good experiences there," Clarke said. "Great memories both as a player and as a coach. It's a good feeling and I can't say that about a lot of places. There's a bit of a comfort. I've really enjoyed my experience there."
Clarke concludes his long-time association at Fort Lewis where he helped the Skyhawks to three conference championships during his playing career (1994-95, 97-98), spent six seasons as an assistant coach on the women's side before taking over the reins of the program in 2007.
Since, he has guided the women to a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships and five NCAA Division II postseason appearances including a national quarterfinalist showing in 2010. Overall, Clarke has posted a 106-31-17 mark (.744) to rank amongst the top 10 of all active NCAA Division II coaches.
Clarke closes his head coaching tenure in Durango after seven seasons and a program-record 106 wins. He is a two-time National Soccer Coaches' Association of America Region Coach of the Year (2009, 2010) and was twice named RMAC Coach of the Year also in 2009 and 2010.
He coached six All Americans and 14 academic all-league performers as the Skyhawks claimed RMAC tournament championships in 2007 and 2009 and regular season title in 2010. Clarke's teams finished four seasons with a national ranking and obtained the highest NSCAA ranking in program history reaching No. 2 during the 2012 campaign.
"I would to thank (MSU President) Dr. Jesse Rogers, (MSU Athletics Director) Mr. Charlie Carr, the entire staff including Kyle Williams, Kurt Portman, Venera Flores-Stafford, Bill Powers and Trey Reed as well as the selection committee," Clarke said. "I feel blessed to have the opportunity. I'm looking forward to doing my best to make Midwestern proud."
The Mustangs are picked as the favorites to claim their fifth overall Lone Star Conference title and third in the last four years after rolling to a 13-5-3 in 2013 reaching the NCAA Division II playoffs for the third time in program history (2010, 2011, 2013).
"It's exciting and I'm motivated to take a challenge," Clarke said. "This is a team that is starting on the front foot. I have some big shoes to fill as Jeff (Trimble) has done a great job. There are expectations that have to be met."
Trimble, who compiled a 194-101-28 record (.644) over the past 16 seasons, accepted a position at Hendrix (Ark.) College last month.
"While we were saddened to lose Jeff Trimble, we are thrilled to have Damien Clarke join our staff to direct the bright future of our women's soccer team," Carr said. "Everyone in our program, both players and staff, are excited about the values and past success of this great addition to our staff. Damian will work well with Amanda Snodgrass to insure the future growth and success of our soccer program. We welcome Damian, his wife, Sherin and their young son, Taye to Wichita Falls and the Mustangs' family."
Clarke, who is working out moving details, will be formally introduced as part of press conference reception upon his arrival in Wichita Falls. Details will be released in the coming days.
Ironically, Midwestern State opens the 2014 season on Thursday, Sept. 4 against Colorado Mesa at Dirks Field in Durango. The Mustangs take on Clarkes' former team -- Fort Lewis -- on Saturday, Sept. 6. Both matches kick off at 1:30 p.m.
MORE ABOUT CLARKE
- Clarke was a part of a three conference championship during his playing career at Fort Lewis College including a Colorado Athletic Conference title in 1995 and back-to-back Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles in 1997 and 1998.
- Clarke was a member of the first two NCAA Division II postseason qualifying squads in FLC history in 1997 and 1998 while playing for current University of New Mexico coach Jeremy Fishbein.
- Clarke played in 69 games scoring five goals and notching three assists during his playing days in Durango (1994-95, 97-98).
- Clarke has been a part of Fort Lewis soccer for 18 of the past 20 years.
- In addition to Fishbein, Clarke also credits his growth in the coaching profession to former Fort Lewis women's soccer head coach Jaymee Carozza and former FLC men's mentor Jeremy Gunn -- the current head coach at Stanford University.
- Clarke served six years as an assistant coach under Carozza (1999, 2002-06). The duo combined for a 58-43-19 record and two RMAC tournament championships (1999, 2006).
- Clarke served on the New Mexico Olympic Development staff from 2007-12 and was the Assistant Director of Coaching for the Durango Youth Soccer Association from 2003-06.
- Clarke received a Bachelor of Arts in U.S. History from Fort Lewis College in 2004.