July 07--It's been 30 years since Charles Clark stopped coaching basketball, but sports has never left his blood.
Clark, who starred at New Brockton High School before going on to play and succeed at Chipola Junior College and Troy University, recently retired from a job as a State Farm agent in Enterprise.
Now, he spends his time watching Enterprise High School athletics, among other things. His grandson, Clark Quisenberry, plays football, basketball and baseball for the Wildcats and the rising senior has committed to play football for Troy University.
"People ask me how I'm enjoying retirement and I tell them I don't know if I've got a true picture of it yet," Clark said. "I'm always out going to see games."
Clark was recently selected to this year's Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame class. He scored more than 20 points per game as a junior and senior at New Brockton, leading the Gamecocks to the state tournament as a senior.
But he had to play the last few games as a senior with a cast on a broken right arm. Clark didn't miss any games, but certainly wasn't able to perform at the level he did before the injury.
"I remember my coach came and looked at my arm and said, 'There goes my state championship,'" Clark said. "It was a learning experience for me. It helped me mature and I learned I could do other things for the team besides score points."
At Chipola, he was the only freshman starter and as a sophomore, he helped the school reach the national basketball tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., along with Austin "Red" Robbins, who played professionally in the American Basketball Association.
"Our banner was the first of many banners that are now hanging at that gym," Clark said.
After that, he played for John Archer at Troy and then spent a year coaching the school's freshman team. Then he ventured into high school coaching and spent 17 years at that level.
He first started out at Enterprise High School. Three years later, he went to coach at Childersburg High School.
"It wasn't a very good three years (at Enterprise) from a win-loss standpoint," Clark said. "I told my wife I need to go figure out if I can coach or not. We moved to Childersburg and went 21-3 my first year. That answered my question. You've got to have some horses."
Clark spent four years at Childersburg and then took on a bigger role at Crenshaw Christian. He was the headmaster, assistant football coach, head boys basketball coach and also coached golf.
Crenshaw won state championships his first two years, going 102-12 in his first three years, which included a 43-game win streak. Clark certainly had reached the top, but then it started to wear on him.
"I tell folks I cut the grass, cleaned the commodes and did a little bit of everything," Clark said. "They say it's easier to get to the top than stay at the top and there's a lot of truth to that. Everybody's coming after you. After a while, I just got burned out there."
In 1976, Clark was offered the chance to become a State Farm agent in Andalusia, but turned that down because he wanted to stay in Luverne and keep working with the school. A few years later, he called up his friend at State Farm and there were openings in Troy and Enterprise. From 1983 to 2010, he worked in the insurance business.
"I had two young children and decided that if I wanted to make a living, it was time to start doing something else," Clark said.
Clark's son Reid played junior college basketball at Enterprise State and later played two years at Auburn. Even if Clark left coaching to work in insurance, basketball has never left his heart.
"Basketball was big for me," Clark said. "New Brockton didn't have anything but basketball. We had baseball, but there wasn't too much to it at that time. We only played six games my senior year.
"Basketball provided me an education, and I owe everything to that."
(c)2012 the Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Ala.)
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