Fairbanks High School assistant basketball coach Andy Clark, left, instructs Sean Galsterer through a ball-handling drill. Clark has joined the Panther coaching staff after working with Jonathan Alder cagers. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
A familiar face and name among Central Ohio high school basketball coaching circles has joined the boys hoop staff at Fairbanks High School.
Andy Clark is beginning his first season as an assistant to varsity head coach Justin George this winter.
Clark, a 1975 graduate of Jonathan Alder High School, takes over for Scott Coon.
“Scott wanted to go back down to the middle school where he will coach the eighth grade team,” said George. “Andy knows basketball very well and he was anxious to join us when I reached out to him last summer.”
“Going into the summer, I assumed I wouldn’t be coaching this season,” said Clark, who was an assistant under Brent Cahill last year at JA.
Cahill did not return as the Pioneers’ head coach this season and Clark decided to step away from the Pioneer program.
“Justin called and asked if I had an interest in coaching at Fairbanks, “ said Clark. “I’ve always liked the culture at Fairbanks.
“The folks at Fairbanks have always treated me very well and I just think this is a good fit for me.”
Clark brings a long basketball resume to the table.
He was a Pioneer hoopster during his high school days and then went on to play four years (three as a varsity letterman) on the collegiate level for his uncle, Jim Burson, at Muskingum College.
“He (Burson) was a very good role model for me,” said Clark. “He taught me so much about being a good man and teammate. He and my dad were great role models.
“Those are the traits I’ve always tried to pass on to the guys I’ve coached over the years.”
Clark graduated from Muskingum in 1979 with a degree in math education.
He began his classroom career at Teays Valley High School and it didn’t take long for him to get his feet wet as a roundball coach.
“I was hired as Teays Valley’s head coach right out of college at the age of 22,” he smiled. “What were they thinking?”
Clark spent one year with the Vikings and later went on to serve as head coach at Gahanna-Lincoln, Worthington Kilbourne, Columbus Bishop Ready and for one year at Jonathan Alder.
He went on to teach in several districts and served 15 years as the dean of students at Worthington Kilbourne.
He compiled a career record of 129-141.
“Looking at that record, you can see why I’m an assistant coach,” Clark joked. “I was the master of the 8-9-10-11 win season.”
Clark later served four years as an Alder assistant coach under Cahill.
He took a season away from coaching a little more than two years ago when his triplet grandaughers were born.
Clark will assist George in all phases of coaching, including in-game strategies and practices.
“I’m here to help Justin when he needs help and stay out of his way when he wants me to,” he said.
At the age of 62, many people would be content to just sit back and watch the action.
No so with Clark.
“This is my 38th year of coaching,” he said. “The best parts for me are the practice sessions and individual workouts.
“I like to help players as individuals and see them get better.
“This is another opportunity for me to interact with high school basketball players,” said Clark. “I’m grateful that Justin and Fairbanks have given me another chance to do that.”
“Andy is here to help get the best out of all our players,” said George. “He will be a huge help for us.”
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