Clark to speak at 18th annual Achiever Award banquet

Published 2:13 pm Monday, April 20, 2015

Tickets for the 18th annual Achiever Award banquet are on sale now.

Tickets for the banquet, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. on May 7 at First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center, can be purchased at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce or from Tina Caver, Francine Wasden, Anthony Barganier, Rod Cater, Lacey Eason, Matthew Elliott, Ann Steiner Gregory, Joann Mathews, David Saliba, Tracy Salter, Allen Stephenson and Dee Dee Womack.

The cost is $20.

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The Achiever Award recognizes top student-athletes from area schools who not only excel in the classroom and on the playing field, but are also involved in church and the community.

Student-athletes from Fort Dale Academy, Georgiana School, Greenville High School and McKenzie School will be recognized, and two students – a male and a female – will walk away with a $1,500 scholarship.

This year’s nominees include Ashley Elizabeth Ballard, Colby Booker, Aubrey Buck, Ryan Burkett, Paige Campbell, Javarrius Cheatham, Mikeia Clemons, Naareh Cooke, Tiara Davidson, Curt Davis, Hayden Davis, Tyler Keith Gibson, Timothy Price Jones, Jr., Donovan Carlos Lindo, Jr., D’Raylen McGrew, Bethany Janaye Nolan, Erin Odom, Arlyric Posey, Ashton Scott, Cindy Scruggs, Matthew Sheffield, Kennadee Smith, Samantha Smith, Travales Smith, Holland Steadham, Cailyn Thompson.

Fort Dale Academy’s Chip Taylor and Hannah Johnson were selected as the 17th annual Achiever Award winners.

Longtime coach Bill Clark will serve as the keynote speaker for the event.

“We are honored to host this event with the Greenville YMCA,” said Francine Wasden, executive director of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. “We enjoy recognizing our Butler County student-athletes. We are excited to have guest speaker Bill Clark in Greenville and look forward to hearing his message.”

Clark most recently served as head coach at UAB, where he guided the Blazers to a 6-6 finish in his only season at the school. UAB has since announced it will discontinue its football program.

Prior to taking the top job at UAB, Clark served as head coach at Jacksonville State University. During his lone season at JSU, Clark led the Gamecocks to an 11-4 record, their most victories since the 1992 campaign when JSU won the NCAA Division II National Championship. That number set an Ohio Valley Conference record and is also the most wins by a first-year head coach.

Jacksonville State concluded the 2013 season ranked No. 10 in the final FCS poll. The Gamecocks, who ranked sixth in the nation in FCS attendance, set 49 school records in 2013 and broke 13 OVC marks, as well as three NCAA records. JSU had two players earn All-America honors last season and nine selected for All-Ohio Valley Conference accolades.

From 2008 to 2010, Clark served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the University of South Alabama.

During the 2010 season, South Alabama allowed only 13 points per game and 254.6 yards per game and went 10-0. In 2009, the Jags allowed only 5.9 points and 234 yards per game when the defense forced 25 sacks and forced 23 turnovers in only seven games.

Clark joined South Alabama in 2008 after spending nine years as head coach at Prattville High School where he led the Lions to national prominence. He won a pair of Class 6A State Championships as his last two teams won 30 straight games, while the 2007 squad was ranked No. 2 in the nation in USA Today’s national high school poll.

Following his final season at Prattville High School, he was named the Alabama High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year and was also selected as the Schutt Southeast Regional Coach of the Year.

Clark posted a 107-11 (90.7 percent) overall record during his tenure, suffering his last regular-season loss during the second week of the 2002 season.

Clark served on the staff of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic three times, including as head coach in the summer of 2007. He also served as head coach in the 2004 North-South All-Star Game. Clark began his coaching career as an assistant at Piedmont High School (1990-91) and also has coaching stints at Tuscaloosa County High School (1992-94), Coffee County (Ga.) High School (1995-96) and Dothan High School (1997-98).

He graduated from Jacksonville State in 1990 with a degree in physical education. Clark and his wife, Jennifer, have two children: daughter, Katie and son Jacob.