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Barnes fills one of two vacant assistant coaching spots

Vols add Rod Clark to basketball staff
New Tennessee basketball assistant coach
New Tennessee basketball assistant coach(UT Athletics)
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes announced Monday that he has added Rod Clark to his staff as an assistant coach. A young and energetic rising star in the profession, Clark, 28, enters just his third season as a collegiate assistant in 2021-22.

”We had an opportunity to be very selective in making this hire, and I couldn’t be more excited about adding Rod to our staff,” Barnes said. “We weren’t the only high-major program who wanted him, but thankfully he wanted to be at Tennessee. He fits everything we prioritize in our program culture, and I know he is going to connect with our players in a special way.”

Among the players Clark has already helped to develop are current NBA standouts Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers) and Shaq Harrison (Utah Jazz) as well as Gonzaga All-American Drew Timme.”

Rod understands how to develop college players and make them better,” Tennessee associate head coach Mike Schwartz said. “Before transitioning to the college game, he proved himself at the highest levels of high school and grassroots basketball. In doing so, he developed a powerful recruiting network built on genuine relationships.”

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Clark spent the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. The Governors posted a winning record and led the Ohio Valley Conference in offensive rebounding while ranking second in rebounding defense, third in turnover margin and fourth in scoring.

In Clark’s lone season at Austin Peay, senior forward Terry Taylor was named OVC Player of the Year after finishing the season as the only player to rank among the Division I top 10 in both scoring (eighth, 21.6 ppg) and rebounding (seventh, 11.1 rpg).Clark’s first stop as a collegiate coach came in the Horizon League as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2019-20. The Flames posted impressive defensive statistics, leading the league in field-goal percentage defense, 3-point defense (14th nationally) and blocks per game. UIC finished the season with an impressive run to the 2020 Horizon League Tournament championship game.For a two-year span from 2017-19, Clark honed his skills in player development, video breakdown and scouting as the top assistant coach at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas—a national prep basketball powerhouse.

In 2018, Sunrise Christian went 24-2 and finished the season ranked No. 2 nationally according to USA Today and MaxPreps. The 2019 squad followed with a 22-5 record, finished the year ranked 10th nationally and earned the program’s first-ever appearance at the Geico National Tournament.Clark also spent time as a coach with the prestigious MoKan Elite program on the Nike EYBL circuit. MoKan Elite posted a 30-7 record in 2018 and reached the semifinals at the Nike Peach Jam. He built on that experience to guide MoKan Elite to the Peach Jam championship in 2019 (with a roster that included eventual McDonald’s All-American and Tennessee signee Kennedy Chandler).

Clark played his first two seasons of college basketball at Neosho Community College in Kansas and Redlands Community College in Oklahoma, respectively, before concluding his career at NAIA Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky. He received his degree in Communications from LWC in 2015.

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