From the day that he was born Jim was destined to be a wrestler and a wrestling coach. After all, his dad Ed, and four of his uncles wrestled for Bedford. Also, his dad was the head coach at Bedford and his Uncle Bob the head coach at Everett.
Jim graduated from Bedford High School in 1972 where he earned three letters in wrestling and also lettered in football. His senior year Jim was undefeated in dual meets.
After graduating from Bedford, Jim attended the Altoona Campus of Penn State for two years. In 1974 Jim finished second in the Penn State Commonwealth Campus Championships and second in the Pennsylvania State Freestyle Championships.
Jim attended Penn State University where he was a member of the wrestling team. In 1976 he graduated from Penn State with a B.S. degree in health and physical education.
In 1976, he was hired as assistant wrestling coach at Everett under head coach Norm Palovcsik.
In 1977 he was hired as a teacher and as the head wrestling coach at Chestnut Ridge High School. Little did he know at the time that he would spend the next 31 years as Ridge's head wrestling coach.
Under Jim s guidance the Lions amassed a record of 342-158-3. The 342 wins are a record for Bedford County and District 5 wrestling coaches. His teams had 25 winning seasons including an undefeated regular season in 2005-2006. Clark s teams won 18 tournament championships, including the District 5 Title in 1983 and six conference championships.
During his tenure at Chestnut Ridge, he coached 56 District 5 champions, 40 Southwest Regional place winners, six regional champions, 30 PIAA state qualifiers, and nine state place winners including the school's first PIAA state champion, Gary Pfhaler, in 2008. Pfhaler was the first state champ from the county in 25 years.
Jim retired from coaching at the end of the 2008 season, but remained a teacher at Chestnut Ridge.
On his retirement, he said, "It's really only a time factor. I just need to have more free time. As an example, Scott (assistant coach McGill) and I were up until 12:30 in the morning one night going over possible lineups for the Bedford match (in the district duals). If you cannot give it 110 percent, you know it is time to get out."
Jim was inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008 joining his father Ed, who was inducted in 1983, and three others from the county, two former Bedford wrestling coaches, Whitey Koontz and Bill Creps, and Northern Bedford's Jan Clark, a three-time state champion.
Jim has been a PIAA wrestling official for the past 24 years.
He has served on the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Executive Committee for the past 24 years as a past president and has served as the secretary for over 15 years.
Jim married Ross Ann Snider in 1981 and they have three children: two daughters, Johncie and Andrea, and a son Obie. The Clarks reside at William Penn Road, Imler.
Class of 2009
Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame
Bedford County, Pennsylvania