Clark takes the next crack at the Eastern Girls’ Basketball Workout | Sports

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The last baseball game Matt Clark coached summed up his coaching philosophy better, perhaps, than at any other time in his three years in charge of West Carter.

The Comets beat East Carter in the 2021 62nd District Tournament Finals, 5-1, but it came at a cost. West Carter ace Trevor Callahan needed 108 pitches to get through, and although he was eligible to pitch against Raceland in the quarter-finals of the 16th regional tournament four days later, his arm was not not ready, Clark said.

So Clark didn’t cast Callahan. It cost the Comets dearly in a 22-0 loss to Raceland, but Callahan had a future and fulfilled it. He went to Morehead State as planned and has played nine games for the Eagles so far as a freshman.

It was more important to Clark than the area tournament, and the story is indicative of the approach he brings to his new coaching job: rebuilding East Carter’s women’s basketball program.

“I will always do what’s best for the kids,” Clark said. “At the end of the day, I want them to be able to play to their abilities and not put them in a place that would put them at risk health-wise, mentally or whatever. I don’t want to that they are in a place where they cannot succeed.”

It was a tall order for the Raiders last season, who slipped to 3-24 and missed the 16th regional tournament for the second season in a row – a tough campaign for a program not so long ago in competition for regional championships.

Clark has been thinking a lot, he said, about what he can do to initiate a turnaround.

“I just want to see growth,” Clark said. “Can we improve on the experience they had last year? Can we build on that, and can we continue to improve and get the program back in the right direction?

“They’ve had so many successful years here and dominant teams. It’s not going to be an easy fix or a quick fix, but it’s a solution I’m going to have to tackle head-on.”

East Carter will do that by tailoring his offense to his staff, Clark said.

“Obviously everyone wants to go up and down and press and shoot the ball a ton,” he said, “but the game will dictate a lot, our opponent, fouls, that kind of stuff. will make them more successful — I’ll adapt to their skills and we’ll make it work.”

Clark’s wife, Jennifer, is East Carter’s volleyball coach. He assisted her for two years. Clark pointed out that with Jennifer being involved in her sport in the fall and spring, it suited her well to train in the winter, especially from a childcare perspective.

The Clarks’ son Matthew James II – whom they call MJ – will turn 3 in June and “we couldn’t really keep him tied down anymore,” Clark cracked. “He went running.”

Clark, 36, is an assistant principal at East Carter High School. He coached various sports during stints in West Carter, Rowan County and Graves County, including a stint as a Comets women’s basketball assistant. His West Carter baseball teams went 49-42 and won two district tournaments in three seasons.

Clark is an alumnus of Cumberland High School and Morehead State. He is the sixth coach in East Carter women’s basketball history, according to a statement from Principal Kelley Moore.

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