Effective July of this year, UC Irvine will no longer see Men’s Tennis Head Coach Steve Clark on the courts. Early last week, Clark announced his resignation and plans to move to the Spokane, Washington area with his family later this year.
‘I have given 17 years of my life to UCI and I am in a position to put my family in a situation where I can spend a lot of time with them,’ Clark said. ‘I thought I would never leave, but when all is said and done, will I look back and wish I had worked more or spent more time with my kids? I have chosen my kids.’
Clark has pushed his teams to win two Big West Conference titles in his 14 years as head coach in addition to having four of his teams reach the NCAA tournament. None of his teams have ever finished below third in the conference.
Having 11 of his doubles teams as well as 19 of his singles players named All-Big West first-team honorees is only one of his accomplishments at UCI. Clark’s coaching has helped 68 of his players become Big West Scholar-Athletes. In addition, he has coached one Academic All-American and eight Intercollegiate Tennis Associate Scholar-Athletes.
‘When he told us he was retiring on Monday, all the guys were really shocked. Some of us cried,’ said sophomore Victor Lamm. ‘We will all miss him.’
‘Regardless of where he moves or what he does with his life, this team is going to be recognized as Coach Clark’s team and we, as players, will always remember and appreciate the effort he put over the years,’ said junior Mustafa Ulukan. ‘We are going to miss him.’
Clark expressed his gratitude to everyone involved in UCI’s tennis program, including UCI Athletic Director Bob Chichester.
‘I was going to make a long list of the UCI faculty, staff, boosters and alumni who have been involved with the program. I would love to thank each of them for their friendship, service and help,’ Clark said. ‘I know that I will see people again. Tennis is a very small world.’
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