Two-Sport Star, Archie Clark Leaves Legacy at Minnesota

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
Discovered on an Air Force base in Maryland, Archie Clark turned out to be a standout on the University of Minnesota's men's basketball team and baseball team during his tenure from 1963 to 1966. He ranks among many Golden Gophers in the history books with his talents on the basketball court and was part of history on Dick Seibert's National Championship baseball team. Also, he was one of the first African Americans to be named captain at the University of Minnesota in any sport.

Born in Conway, Ark., on July 15, 1941, Clark was the fourth child in his family of 12. His parents, Houston and Sadaler Clark moved the family to the Detroit suburb of River Rouge, Mich., when he was just two and later they found a home in Ecorse, Mich., where Clark graduated from Ecorse High School in 1959.

His passion for sports began on the baseball field in 1946 when he was just five years old. He even made the junior high school swimming team but didn't start playing basketball until he reached the 10th grade. But a little hard work and a major growth spurt made him a standout both on the basketball court and the baseball field. As a sophomore he was 5-7 and 119 pounds. By the time he was a junior in high school he had reached 6-0 and weighed 146 pounds.

His performance on the baseball field was so great that he was talented enough to try out for the Detroit Tigers after high school. His only college opportunity was North Carolina A&T but he declined. He tried to find work after high school in the steel mills, but there was a recession. Clark decided on joining the Army and remained in the military for three years. Lucky for the University of Minnesota, Clark may have missed his major league opportunity when the Detroit Tigers invited him to spring training 10 days after joining the Army.

Attached to an Air Force missile unit in Maryland, Clark kept his athletic talents up to speed by joining Andrews Air Force Base intramural basketball team. His coach Buzz Bennett, a former University of Minnesota basketball player, was captured by Clark's talents and gave University of Minnesota assistant Glenn Reed a call.

At 21 years old he accepted a scholarship from the University of Minnesota to play for John Kundla. At that time freshman had to sit out their first year before competing, so as a sophomore he joined Lou Hudson and Don Yates and became one of the first African American athletes on scholarship to play for the Golden Gophers.

During his senior year in 1965-66, Clark was selected captain of the University of Minnesota men's basketball team, becoming one of the first African Americans at Minnesota to hold that honor for any sport. He was also named team MVP and was named to the All-Big Ten team after averaging 28 points per game during his senior campaign.

Clark finished his collegiate basketball career at the University of Minnesota as a 1,000 point scorer and now sits 19th on the school history list with 1,199 total points. He is listed among other Gophers for record breaking career performances, including maintaining a scoring average of 16.7 points to place 10th all-time for career scoring average, ninth for free-throws made with 291 and ninth for free-throw attempts with 412. Clark also holds many single-season records for the University of Minnesota, including averaging 24.5 points per game during his senior campaign which sits third on the list, ninth with 223 made field goals, ninth with 460 field goal attempts, sixth with 143 free- throws and fourth for free-throw attempts with 190. Clark is also among the All-Time 30- Point Game scorers at the University of Minnesota, sitting fifth with 38 points in his game in Detroit.

Among other Golden Gophers, Clark holds Big-Ten records of his own and sits seventh on the Big Ten career records for free-throw attempts with 252 and fifth for single-season scoring average with 24.9 points per game. Clark also joined the All-Big Ten first team in 1966 and the All-Big Ten third team in 1965. He joined the NABC All-District second team in 1966 and was named team MVP in 1966 by the University of Minnesota.

Clark also played baseball for Minnesota as their centerfielder. He took part in history for Dick Siebert's teams, playing from 1964 to 1966. Clark capped a sophomore season in which the Golden Gophers defeated top-ranked Missouri 5-1 to capture Minnesota's third national championship in nine years.

In 1966, Clark was on to the professionals and joined the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers where he stayed for two years. Before the start of his third season, he was traded to Philadelphia where he stayed for three years. After his third year in Philadelphia, Clark then was traded to the Washington Bullets and was again traded for the 1974-75 season to Seattle where he played one year and was finally traded to Detroit for what turned out to be his final year in the NBA (1975-76).

After his stint in the NBA, Clark fled to New York to relax and decide what direction he wanted to take in life. The next year he returned to his stomping grounds and began to get involved with Detroit politics. From 1977-1983 he was the administrative assistant to the Mayor of his hometown, Ecorse, Mich.

In 1983, Clark left the government and became a real estate agent for the next three and a half years. Changing careers once again in 1987, he became the Executive Assistant to the well known and popular Wayne County Executive, Ed McNamara and that same year he also ran for Mayor of Ecorse but lost by a small number of votes. Later in 1988, he became president of a downtown Detroit parking firm and also a joint venture partner with APCOA, one of the nation's largest private parking operators.

Becoming Deputy Director of the Wayne County Department of Jobs and Economic Development in 1995, Clark oversaw administrative functions for the Department and its five divisions. He also played a significant role for the county as their legislative liaison with the County Commission, the state legislature and chief elected officials in Wayne County's 43 communities.

Clark is also founding member and vice president of the NBA Retired Players Association and an active member of the Detroit area NAACP. He is also the proud father of eight children and six grand children.

Discovered on an Air Force base in Maryland, Archie Clark turned out to be a standout on the University of Minnesota's men's basketball team and baseball team during his tenure from 1963 to 1966. He ranks among many Golden Gophers in the history books with his talents on the basketball court and was part of history on Dick Seibert's National Championship baseball team. Also, he was one of the first African Americans to be named captain at the University of Minnesota in any sport.

Born in Conway, Ark., on July 15, 1941, Clark was the fourth child in his family of 12. His parents, Houston and Sadaler Clark moved the family to the Detroit suburb of River Rouge, Mich., when he was just two and later they found a home in Ecorse, Mich., where Clark graduated from Ecorse High School in 1959.

His passion for sports began on the baseball field in 1946 when he was just five years old. He even made the junior high school swimming team but didn't start playing basketball until he reached the 10th grade. But a little hard work and a major growth spurt made him a standout both on the basketball court and the baseball field. As a sophomore he was 5-7 and 119 pounds. By the time he was a junior in high school he had reached 6-0 and weighed 146 pounds.

His performance on the baseball field was so great that he was talented enough to try out for the Detroit Tigers after high school. His only college opportunity was North Carolina A&T but he declined. He tried to find work after high school in the steel mills, but there was a recession. Clark decided on joining the Army and remained in the military for three years. Lucky for the University of Minnesota, Clark may have missed his major league opportunity when the Detroit Tigers invited him to spring training 10 days after joining the Army.

Attached to an Air Force missile unit in Maryland, Clark kept his athletic talents up to speed by joining Andrews Air Force Base intramural basketball team. His coach Buzz Bennett, a former University of Minnesota basketball player, was captured by Clark's talents and gave University of Minnesota assistant Glenn Reed a call.

At 21 years old he accepted a scholarship from the University of Minnesota to play for John Kundla. At that time freshman had to sit out their first year before competing, so as a sophomore he joined Lou Hudson and Don Yates and became one of the first African American athletes on scholarship to play for the Golden Gophers.

During his senior year in 1965-66, Clark was selected captain of the University of Minnesota men's basketball team, becoming one of the first African Americans at Minnesota to hold that honor for any sport. He was also named team MVP and was named to the All-Big Ten team after averaging 28 points per game during his senior campaign.

Clark finished his collegiate basketball career at the University of Minnesota as a 1,000 point scorer and now sits 19th on the school history list with 1,199 total points. He is listed among other Gophers for record breaking career performances, including maintaining a scoring average of 16.7 points to place 10th all-time for career scoring average, ninth for free-throws made with 291 and ninth for free-throw attempts with 412. Clark also holds many single-season records for the University of Minnesota, including averaging 24.5 points per game during his senior campaign which sits third on the list, ninth with 223 made field goals, ninth with 460 field goal attempts, sixth with 143 free- throws and fourth for free-throw attempts with 190. Clark is also among the All-Time 30- Point Game scorers at the University of Minnesota, sitting fifth with 38 points in his game in Detroit.

Among other Golden Gophers, Clark holds Big-Ten records of his own and sits seventh on the Big Ten career records for free-throw attempts with 252 and fifth for single-season scoring average with 24.9 points per game. Clark also joined the All-Big Ten first team in 1966 and the All-Big Ten third team in 1965. He joined the NABC All-District second team in 1966 and was named team MVP in 1966 by the University of Minnesota.

Clark also played baseball for Minnesota as their centerfielder. He took part in history for Dick Siebert's teams, playing from 1964 to 1966. Clark capped a sophomore season in which the Golden Gophers defeated top-ranked Missouri 5-1 to capture Minnesota's third national championship in nine years.

In 1966, Clark was on to the professionals and joined the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers where he stayed for two years. Before the start of his third season, he was traded to Philadelphia where he stayed for three years. After his third year in Philadelphia, Clark then was traded to the Washington Bullets and was again traded for the 1974-75 season to Seattle where he played one year and was finally traded to Detroit for what turned out to be his final year in the NBA (1975-76).

After his stint in the NBA, Clark fled to New York to relax and decide what direction he wanted to take in life. The next year he returned to his stomping grounds and began to get involved with Detroit politics. From 1977-1983 he was the administrative assistant to the Mayor of his hometown, Ecorse, Mich.

In 1983, Clark left the government and became a real estate agent for the next three and a half years. Changing careers once again in 1987, he became the Executive Assistant to the well known and popular Wayne County Executive, Ed McNamara and that same year he also ran for Mayor of Ecorse but lost by a small number of votes. Later in 1988, he became president of a downtown Detroit parking firm and also a joint venture partner with APCOA, one of the nation's largest private parking operators.

Becoming Deputy Director of the Wayne County Department of Jobs and Economic Development in 1995, Clark oversaw administrative functions for the Department and its five divisions. He also played a significant role for the county as their legislative liaison with the County Commission, the state legislature and chief elected officials in Wayne County's 43 communities.

Clark is also founding member and vice president of the NBA Retired Players Association and an active member of the Detroit area NAACP. He is also the proud father of eight children and six grand children.