June 28, 2010

Clarke Tabbed as New Head Coach at Limestone

by Jac Coyne | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Coyne Archive | Twitter

J.B. Clarke becomes the fifth head coach in the history of the Limestone program after spending the last 12 years at Washington College.
© John Strohsacker

Just days after former head coach Mike Cerino relinquished his head coaching duties at Limestone (S.C.) College, former Washington College head man J.B. Clarke has been tabbed as his successor, according to Cerino on Monday afternoon.

“We’ve looked at a bunch of different people and it was important that we looked at coaches that not only had head coaching experience, but NCAA experience and had advanced in the NCAAs,” said Cerino. “Coach Clarke came across as a wonderful addition for us.”

“This was a great fit from the start. When I was at Washington College we played Limestone a bunch of times and they are one of the best teams around," said Clarke on Monday afternoon. "When Coach Cerino called and we talked about the opportunity, I didn’t have any hesitation whatsoever.”

Clarke becomes the fifth head coach in the history of the Limestone program and joins the Saints after 12 years as the head coach at Washington College, where he amassed an 138-63 record.

Clarke is bumping up a division, one in which scholarships are involved, but he's no stranger to that world having coached at Ohio State, Duke and Loyola.

"I think lacrosse is lacrosse," said Clarke. "The rules are all the same. It's going to be fun getting back into the scholarship world. I'm excited to learn how Mike has done it down there. At each school it is unique, so it's going to take some time to figure that out, but hopefully we'll be able to figure it out in the next few weeks without any problems. It's very exciting for me to get to spend more time with the student-athletes on the field."

Clarke will be assuming the reins of a tradition Division II power. While the Gaffeny, S.C., location may seem off the lacrosse grid, the Saints have won two national championships and been in the title game six times since 2000.

While he has mostly worked at ground zero of organized lacrosse, Clarke is making his first foray into an "untraditional" area. However, in addition to keeping the Limestone program at a high level, Clarke is looking forward to helping grow the sport in state with huge potential.

"That's one of my goals and it's something Mike and I talked a lot about," said Clarke, about participating in the maturation of the sport at the youth and high school level. "The area is great down there. I went down to meet the president of the school and Mike, and we went out to watch a club tournament and there were 80 teams, boys and girls, playing at one venue. I can't wait to get into an area that is growing."

Cerino knows quite well about Clarke as a coach. He has faced him as both the coach of Limestone as well as Cerino's five-year stint at Washington & Lee from 2002-06, when the Generals went 3-2 against the Shoremen.

"I had some great head-to-head battles with Coach Clarke, but most importantly, I think he is a great mentor to young men," said Cerino.

Despite his resignation from Washington College on May 12, Clarke hasn't been lounging around. He's been attending the camp circuit in hopes of hitting the ground running in Gaffney.

"I'm not a big vacation guy; I'd rather be working," said Clarke, with a laugh. "I'll be heading down tomorrow to get started and I can't wait."



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