Perry Clark enters his fifth season as an assistant coach at South Carolina after his hiring in June 2013. Clark is a former head coach at Tulane, Miami (Fla.) and most recently at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
"We are extremely excited about adding Coach Clark to our staff with the experience and the unbelievable story of success that continues to follow him," Martin said at the time of Clark's hiring. "He is someone who understands the land of recruiting as well as anyone in the country. His experience with preparing teams that have been ranked in the top 10 in the country and to play in the ACC and the Metro Conference is something that will serve our players and coaches in tremendous ways."
Clark has over 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 15 years combined as head coach at both Tulane University and the University of Miami (Fla.). As a head coach, Clark owned a 304-270 (.529) record, including seven 20-win seasons and nine postseason appearances.
South Carolina won four of its final six games during Clark's first season on staff (2013-14), including two SEC Tournament victories, the first wins for the Gamecocks at the event since the 2008 campaign. The Gamecocks battled through a challenging non-conference schedule, posting wins versus Saint Mary's at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and home wins versus Alabama, Vanderbilt and an upset win over No. 17 Kentucky during league play. Clark helped the Gamecocks to a 17-16 overall record, including six SEC victories and an upset win over No. 9/9 Iowa State during the 2014-15 campaign. It marked the Gamecocks' first winning record and the most league wins since 2010. For the second-straight season, Carolina won four of its final six games, including two victories in the SEC Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinal round. Carolina also excelled in the classroom, posting its fifth-consecutive semester of a team GPA of a 3.0 or above during the spring, with the squad earning the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award, three earning NABC Honors Court accolades, and 12 team members named to the SEC Winter Academic and the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Rolls.
The 2015-16 Gamecocks put together one of the top seasons in their history, matching a school record for wins with a 25-9 overall record on the year, while the Gamecocks reached double-digit SEC wins for just the fourth time since joining the league, posting an 11-7 mark in conference contests, marking the Gamecocks' best finish in the league (t-3rd) since the SEC combined its East and West Divisions in 2012. South Carolina began the season 15-0, its best start since the 1933-34 campaign and went on to post a school-record 24 regular-season wins. The outstanding season saw the Gamecocks advance to the Postseason NIT as one of four No. 1 seeds, marking Carolina's first trip to the postseason since 2009.
Three Gamecocks were honored with postseason awards by the SEC coaches in 2016, with senior forward Michael Carrera earning First Team All-SEC accolades, junior guard Sindarius Thornwell was named to the All-Defensive Team and junior guard Duane Notice was named the league's Sixth Man of the Year. Carrera went on to earn honors from several organizations following the best season of his career. Carrera, Notice and Thornwell each reached the 1,000 career-point plateau during the season as well.
The Gamecocks continued to excel in the classroom during the 2015-16 campaign. The spring semester saw Carolina post a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or higher for the sixth time in the last seven semesters, and 10 student-athletes were named to the SEC Winter Academic and the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Rolls.
The 2016-17 campaign would go on to be the best season in school history, as the Gamecocks set a school record with 26 wins, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004, posted the first program win in the NCAA Tournament since 1973, and advanced to the school’s first-ever Final Four, falling by just four points, 77-73, to Gonzaga in the national semifinals in Phoenix. South Carolina captured back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since a string of three-straight 20-win campaigns from 2003-2006, and the Gamecocks posted double-digit league victories for just the fifth time since joining the SEC in 1992.
During the 2016-17 season, the Gamecocks were ranked as high as No. 16 in the AP Poll, and finished the campaign ranked sixth in the final USA Today Coaches Poll. Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell would earn SEC Player of the Year honors from the league coaches, while also earning First Team All-America honors from CBS Sports.
In 11 seasons at Tulane, Clark compiled a 185-145 (.561) record, had six 20-win seasons, seven postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 4 NIT) and won the Metro Conference championship in 1992. The 1992 National Coach of the Year, he was a two-time Metro Conference Coach of the Year (1991, 1992).
He took over the program at Miami in 2000 and spent four seasons with the Hurricanes, where he led them to a 65-54 (.546) record. In his first three seasons with the program, he accumulated 51 wins, the most ever by a Hurricane coach, and became the only Miami coach to take the Hurricanes to the postseason in each of his first two seasons.
Clark's 2001-02 Hurricane squad finished 24-8 and received the school's fourth NCAA Tournament berth and set a school record for wins in a season. Included in the 24 wins were a school-record 14 consecutive victories to open the season. His Hurricanes were not ranked in the preseason, but were ranked for the final 13 weeks of the campaign, ending the year No. 21 according to the Associated Press.
In four seasons at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Clark led the Islanders to a 54-71 (.432) overall record. His 2008-09 squad doubled its win total from the previous season and Kevin Palmer earned Southland Newcomer of the Year honors after posting 18.2 points per game in leading a team in which no player had more than a season of NCAA Division I experience.
Success has followed Clark's players, particularly in the early stages of their careers. In his stints at Georgia Tech and Tulane, Clark went a phenomenal eight for nine, from 1983 to 1992, in helping produce the conference's top rookie, including a Metro record three in a row at Tulane.
As the recruiting coordinator at Georgia Tech, five players earned honors as the top freshman - Mark Price (1983), Bruce Dalrymple (1984), Duane Ferrell (1985), Tom Hammonds (1986) and Dennis Scott (1988). At Tulane, Anthony Reed (1990), Kim Lewis (1991) and Pointer Williams (1992) claimed consecutive Metro Conference Freshman of the Year honors. Clark has coached 19 players who were drafted or have gone on to play in the NBA. Thirteen of those draftees have gone in the first or second rounds, including 2002 selection John Salmons, who was taken with the 26th pick of the first round by the San Antonio Spurs, and James Jones, who was a second-round selection by the Indiana Pacers in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Other NBA draftees include Gamecock Sindarius Thornwell, Anthony Reed and Jerald Honeycutt at Tulane, Frank Brickowski from Penn State, and Bruce Dalrymple, Duane Ferrell, Tom Hammonds, Yvon Joseph, Craig Neal, Brian Oliver, Mark Price, John Salley, and Dennis Scott from Tech.
Before he became a head coach, Clark was the associate head coach at Georgia Tech from 1986-88 and an assistant for the Yellow Jackets from 1982-86 under Bobby Cremins. He also served as assistant coach at Penn State from 1978-1982 and started his coaching career at famed DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland as an assistant coach under legendary prep coach Morgan Wootten. Clark was inducted into the Tulane Hall of Fame in 2009 after being inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame during the 2008 season.
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