Coach Clarke makes a mark on NHS


Matthew Dimaandal

CONSTRUCTIVE COACHING: Clarke offers a football player guidance and advice on how to improve an offensive play.

Matthew Dimaandal, Photo Editor

From the classroom to the football field, Coach John Clarke has always held a strong sense of Northwood’s core values and the programs involved. But after the 2020-21 school year, Clarke made an interesting switch: After teaching math since Northwood’s inception, Clarke chose to retire from teaching and pursue coaching football full-time. 

“It was just time to retire from teaching,” Clarke said.  “42 years is a long time.”

Northwood Varsity Football’s quarterback junior Andrew Penrod has had great experiences with Clarke on the football field and credits much of the team’s success to Clarke’s understanding of the game. 

“Clarke has been coaching for decades and has helped increase our defensive knowledge,” Penrod said. “He has a bunch of tips and tricks from over the years on how to take on guys that are a lot bigger than you. He loves practice and wants us all to get a little bit better every day because, over time, it will translate and have a dramatic effect.”

Coaching a wide array of sports like football, basketball, wrestling and track, Clarke’s love for sports has never wavered during his time at Northwood. 

Clarke believes that a lot of the high school experience revolves around school sports.

“Sport programs, especially football, can unify a school and make the start of each year an exciting experience for all kids with Friday night under the lights and pep rallies!” Clarke said. “All sports give kids a chance to compete, make new friends and learn valuable life lessons.”

Not only a great coach on the field, Clarke is constantly invested in the well-being of all of his students. 

“Coach Clarke is dedicated, reliable and always looking out for our students,” Sierra Wang said, Clarke’s colleague in both the mathematics and athletics departments. “I have loved working with him because he is always looking to do what is best for the kids.”

Having taught math for 42 years and football for 46, Clarke sees strong similarities between the learning process in math and the training process in football. 

“You practice, you explain, you encourage, you practice some more and you test to find out if you are truly getting it,” Clarke said. “No other way to get better.”

There’s no doubt Clarke has played a pivotal role in Northwood culture. Although not in the classroom, Coach Clarke will continue to be an essential part of the Northwood community on the football field. For the rest of his tenure on the pitch, Clarke has ambitious goals.

“I hope we find enough students who love the game and can make long term goals,” Clarke said. “We do that and the future is bright.”