Yukon Public Schools Director of Athletics Mike Clark is one of the most decorated sportsmen in the state of Oklahoma and on Oct. 5, he added to his list of accolades.
Clark joined his teammates from the 1980-81 and 1981-82 Central State national champion wrestling teams in being inducted into the University of Central Oklahoma Athletics Hall of Fame.
Clark was a key member of the two-time NAIA national champion wrestling teams. He earned All-American status as a true freshman and sophomore. Clark was one of six national champions on a roster that included five of the top eight ranked freshmen wrestlers in the country, including the No. 1 ranked freshmen.
Of those five highly ranked freshmen, three transferred to Oklahoma State University after their sophomore years to finish out their college wrestling careers. Clark was one of them.
“I’ve been really fortunate to be on some good teams and have had some of the best coaches around, very blessed,” Clark said. “I was able to see some people that I haven’t seen in a long time. My coach at Central State, Eddie Griffin, was special. I had a lot of great coaches in my career, Hall of Fame Coaches. They all taught me so much. Eddie is probably the greatest motivator. He would make you believe in yourself. He truly cared about his wrestlers.”
Griffin is now the athletic director at University of Central Oklahoma.
Following his stellar wrestling career, Clark went into the education and coaching world.
He became a wrestling coach and math teacher, and he coached 23 individuals to state championships and had a coaching record of 108-35.
In his career, Clark has been honored by the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award. He has served on the National Federation of High School Wrestling Rules Committee and is a certified Bronze Level Coach by USA Wrestling.
Clark is also recognized as a certified athletic administrator by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administration Association.
“Getting to share this experience with my former teammates is special,” Clark said. “It’s kind of like a reunion. We were able to talk about old memories and share some good times we had together. At the time, you don’t understand just how special it is, but the older you get, the more cherish those times you had together.”
Clark has three daughters, who are all graduated from high school and played softball growing up. He said he trained all of them like he was training wrestlers and all of them went on to earn All-State status in softball their senior years in high school.
Yukon High School graduate Steve Foster, who was a high school state wrestling champion, was also a part of the Central State wrestling team being honored at the ceremony. Foster was a heavyweight for the Bronchos.