Coach scores national award
Coaching youth football is more than teaching boys how to block, tackle or pass.
When he’s on the field, Kenneth Clark, the sanitation services manager at our facility in Murfreesboro, Tenn., also aims to teach kids life lessons.
Kenneth, who has been coaching for 35 years, grew up in what he calls “a bad part of town” in Rutherford County, Tenn., and many of the boys he coaches face the same challenges he did.
“I always use the phrase, ‘Be good citizens of the community.’ That’s what I try to go after with the kids, try to catch them while they’re young before they make a mistake that costs them the rest of their life.”
Last month, Kenneth was one of only 10 coaches in the nation to receive the Inspiring Greatness Award by USA Football and Courtyard Marriott. He was recognized at a banquet in Nashville and given a $1,000 check to be used for football equipment.
“I accept this award on behalf of all the kids, parents, the coaches who give an ungodly amount of time for the organization. It’s not just for me.”
Kenneth was able to meet former Tennessee Titan Eddie George at the ceremony.
Kenneth says he has always loved football. When he was a boy, he sneaked out to go to practice with some friends even though he couldn’t afford a uniform. A coach could see he wanted to play, took him aside and suited him up. He’s been with the Murfreesboro Football League ever since.
He started coaching when he was only 18. Over the years, he’s coached hundreds of kids, including his own two sons.
“I just like being able to share some of my values with them so they can be successful. A lot of them have gone on to do big things.”
Kenneth works with boys in the 9- and 10-year-old division and insists that winning isn’t a priority for that age group.
“Two years ago we won all of our games. We were untouchable,” says Kenneth. “This year we lost all of our games except for one. One thing I always say – we win with class, we lose with class. Our kids absolutely exemplified that. It’s about teaching the basics of football and trying to teach them a little bit about life, too.”
Well done, Coach Clark. We’re glad you’re on the General Mills team!