Leading with a quiet manner

At a Lady Rattler basketball game, fans won’t find head coach Debra Clark flaring her arms, screaming plays at her team or pointing out what she wants to see happen on the court. That is not Clark’s style at all.

In her third season at FAMU, Clark, who won her 150th game on Saturday, has made it clear as to what type of coaching is needed to win.

Right now the Lady Rattlers hold an impressive 12-7 record and second place in the MEAC, due somewhat to Coach Clark’s own style- trust.

Junior guard, Candace Crawford, 21, from Albany, Ga. explained it all.

“She has faith in her point guards to make our own decisions when we’re out there on the court.” Crawford said. “She knows what she is talking about. Nine times out of ten she is right (about the opposing team).”

Clark’s knowledge comes from a long history with basketball. The Mount Vernon, NY native played all through high school and earned a basketball scholarship to Hampton University.

She began her coaching career by turning Norfolk State University into a Division II contender. After seven years at NSU, Clark went on to coach Winston-Salem State University’s girls’ team, where she coached another seven years. While at W-SSU, Clark led her team to five winning seasons and received Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year honors.

Besides coaching, Clark is a teacher and parent of an 11-year-old son, Aaron.

Clark also shares her coaching bench with a person who is more than just an assistant.

John Clark, her husband, has been coaching with her since W-SSU, and says he doesn’t mind working with his spouse.

“We’re just out here trying to win some games,” John Clark said.

That’s exactly what the Lady Rattlers have done. Although, Coach Clark thinks the ladies will only get better.

“This season’s record I am pleased with, but I still don’t think the team has reached it maximum potential yet.” Clark said.

Coaching exclusively women’s teams the last 20 years, Clark said she has no desire to coach men.

“Girls are easier.” Clark said. “Every boy thinks he can play basketball, but a girl is different. A girl wants to learn.”

Clark said the lack of publicity hurts the otherwise successful girls team.

“We have a few fans who come watch before the boys play but a lot of students don’t even know when our games are.”

Contact Megan Torrence at m_r_torrence@yahoo.com