OXFORD, Miss. – Since he arrived back in Oxford in January of this year, Charles Clark has been ecstatic about the opportunity to coach for his alma mater.
As the Rebels’ new cornerbacks coach, Clark is working to help defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff create a stifling unit in the 2018 season. Though he is a Green Cove Springs, Florida native, Clark calls Ole Miss “home,” since he was once a student-athlete for the Rebels.
Clark’s standout career for the Rebels
In his collegiate career, Clark, a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at safety for Ole Miss from 2003-06, appeared in 47 games, including 34 straight starts during his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. He finished his career with 198 tackles, three interceptions, 12 pass breakups, and five fumble recoveries.
Once a player in the Southeastern Conference, Clark is now in position to not only be a coach for his secondary, but to also function as a mentor for the group.
During his first interview with the media on Tuesday, Clark smiled every time he was asked about his alma mater.
“The biggest thing is to get back home, not only to my personal family, but to my Ole Miss family, and to be able to give back to the guys that are sitting in the same seats I sat in, and be able to help them with their experience as someone helped me once.”
Coach Charles Clark on returning to Ole Miss
(Video credit: Courtney Smith, The Rebel Walk)
Clark’s previous stops before his return to Oxford were at Duke, San Jose State, Colorado, and Oregon.
Clark is used to competition in a Power Five conference. He coached the safeties for two seasons for the Buffaloes before moving to cornerbacks for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Clark’s secondary finished second during the 2016 season in the Pac-12 and 21st in the country in passing defense (193.6 ypg) and tied for third in the nation in passing yards allowed per attempt (5.7). In that same season, Colorado won the Pac-12 Conference South Division title.
Clark is using spring camp to get players like Kendarius Webster, D.D. Bowie, Myles Hartsfield and Jaylon Jones familiar with how he wants them to play. Much like what he did with the Buffaloes, Clark is confident his vision will translate into positive results this season.
“All of those guys have played well,” Clark said.
“So, with those guys having experience, I am able to play multiple guys and keep those guys fresh, especially going against big time receivers that we go against each day.”
Still has game?
Clark walked into his first interview with the media Tuesday wearing football cleats. One reporter asked Clark if he had been participating in any of the drills with the players. He responded, “As long as I can hold onto my youth, I try to. But, no, it’s good for me to run around with the guys still.
“If I have to demonstrate something, I’m still able to, so I take advantage of that as much as I can.”
Coach Charles Clark