By Jaycob Ammerman | email@example.com
The son of a Flagler College basketball legend has landed a dream job: a coaching position in the NBA.
J.P. Clark, 26, will be working in player development for the Boston Celtics.
He played for St. Joseph Academy and Nease during his time in high school. J.P. Clark was also a member of the Flagler men’s basketball team, but could only get on the court sparingly due to injuries.
The Celtics open their season against the rival Miami Heat on Tuesday.
“I am so fortunate and excited to be with the Celtics,” J.P. Clark said.
Clark is the son of Bo Clark, who coaches the Flagler men’s basketball team.
“He did what he could to get his foot in the door and now this will be a great opportunity for him as a 26-year-old to work with a prestigious organization like the Boston Celtics,” Bo Clark said.
Bo Clark is the University of Central Florida’s all-time leading scorer and was a three-time All-American in the 1970s.
His late father, Torchy Clark, was UCF’s first men’s basketball head coach from 1969-1983 and led the team to 274 victories.
In addition to playing, J.P. Clark was a member of the Saints men’s basketball team and was an assistant coach before graduating in 2009.
He joined the UCF staff in June 2011 as the assistant director of operations for the men’s basketball team.
Fellow UCF assistant coach Brendon Suhr helped make J.P. Clark’s Celtics job possible.
In the 1980s, Suhr was an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks where he coached current Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
“Coach Suhr and Coach Rivers have a great relationship and Coach Suhr helped me tremendously during this whole period,” J.P. Clark said.
This summer, Clark was asked to train and handle pre-draft developments for River’s son, Austin Rivers, who was a standout player for Duke University and a first-round draft pick of the New Orleans Hornets in 2012.
Clark said networking and the positive role models he’s had in his life led to the opportunity to work with the Celtics.
He said he aspires to follow the example his father has set as both a coach and a person.
“My dad is the best person I have ever been around. He has been the single greatest influence on me in my life without question,” he said.
At the Celtics, J.P. Clark said he will be working with the team’s younger players, doing drills and studying and analyzing game tapes.
His first regular season game will mark a chance at redemption for the Celtics after the Heat knocked them out of the Eastern Conference playoffs in Game 7.
This is one step toward achieving his dreams of following the family legacy and becoming a full-time basketball coach like his father and his grandfather.
The only difference, though, is that he hopes to do so at the professional level.
“I am looking forward to listening and learning from some of the best coaches in the world. I would love to continue to learn and help and maybe one day being a full-time coach in the NBA,” he said.
Photo by J.P. Clark