Shawn Clark was raised in Charleston, West Virginia, where he excelled in both football and basketball. In fact, as a 6-foot-five-inch senior, Clark led his George Washington High School basketball team to their 1993 State Championship win over DuPont High School.
Although he used his size to his advantage on the basketball court, Shawn Clark at heart was a football player. A knee injury in his senior year reduced some of the recruiting interest in Clark, so he arrived at Fork Union Military Academy to play on the postgraduate football team as a member of FUMA's Class of 1994.
Longtime head coach of that team, and now Fork Union's Athletic Director, John Shuman remembers Shawn Clark very well. "He came from the great state of West Virginia and was an overachiever on our team as an offensive lineman,” says Shuman. “He signed with Appalachian State to play football where he put down some tremendous roots. As a coach, you always want a player like Shawn who has talent but overachieves in all areas at Fork Union. He had the best room, best appearance, and was a willing working on the field. We have a PG saying, ‘a hardworking man is a lucky man at FUMA,’ and Shawn’s work and spirit of cooperation has led to great achievements.”
Coach Shuman always knew how to put his players in the best light when top coaches came on recruiting calls, finding great ways to help players stand out and demonstrate skills he knew a college coach might be looking for in a player. When head coach Jerry Moore and his assistant coach John Wiley arrived on Fork Union Military Academy's campus from Appalachian State, they had their eyes open to fill a need at long snapper. Shawn Clark dropped down, made a few good snaps back to the punter, and earned a scholarhip offer to Appalachian State University that very day.
Clark played offensive guard and tackle at App State, making an immediate impact and ultimately earning All-American honors twice and being named an All-Conference selection three times during his college playing career. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 1998 with a bachelor's degreee in criminal justice in 1998 and earned a master's degree in education from Louisville in 2003.
Clark started his college coaching career in 2001 at Louisville, and had coaching stints at Eastern Kentucky, Purdue, and Kent State. In December 2019, with two decades of college coaching on his resume including coaching at his alma mater since 2016, Shawn Clark was named the head coach of the Appalachian State University football program.
Although his first full season as a head coach was plagued, quite literally, by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Clark coached the Mountaineers to 9 and 3 season, finishing first in their conference, and defeating North Texas in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. In the first game of the 2022 football season, his team battled the North Carolina Tar Heels to a narrow 63-61 loss.
That game's memory was thoroughly erased by this past weekend, as Shawn Clark and the Appalachian State University Mountaineers cruised into College Station, Texas, and with close to 93,000 fans in attendance, defeated the number six team in the nation, Texas A & M, on their home field.
A joyful and emotional Coach Clark spoke with ESPN after the game and exclaimed, “We just came into College Station and beat the No. 6 team in the country. How cool is that?”
As Twitter account @BeatinTheBookie described this exchange in a tweet, "Shawn Clark is what college football is all about. All passion, all heart!!!"
We couldn't agree more. Coach Shawn Clark is indeed what college football is all about, and we are proud to highlight him as one of Fork Union's alumni spotlight features.