NCAA Champion to Coach Men’s Lacrosse

By Matteo Herrera

J.B. Clarke has been named head coach for the men’s lacrosse team at The University of Tampa. He will be the second head coach in the school’s program’s history. 

Clarke is a three-time NCAA National Champion who will replace former head coach Rory Whipple, who retired with the most wins as a head coach in NCAA Division II history.

“We look forward to the continued success of the program as a national power and prime destination for the best all-around student-athletes in the country,” said Larry Marfise, athletic director. 

Clarke spent a successful 11-year run at Limestone University. He was named the fifth head coach in team history in 2010 with the most  wins as a coach in team history. 

His record was 174-24, which is at least an 87% win rate. He led Limestone University to four 20-win seasons while accomplishing 11 NCAA Division II National Championship game appearances in 11 seasons. He also won five straight conference championships and back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships.

 Clarke is the only coach in program history to win multiple titles. 

“It’s the relationships really that are the most importantimNportant to me as a coach, and my goals as a coach never change,” said Clarke. “The number one thing I want to be able to do is to help young men become better men.” 

That is something to excite the Lacrosse team. 

“Coach Clarke has proven to be successful with three national championships, so I think an advantage given his experience,” said Matukas. “Definitely some changes with a new coach; he will have different schemes, tactics, and styles of play that he likes. It will be fun to learn some new things about the game.” 

“We had an outstanding pool of qualified candidates, which speaks volumes for the caliber of our men’s lacrosse program,” said Marfise. 

Clarke has also been part of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Committee and the USILA Scholar All-America Committee DII Chair. Adding to his resume, he is also the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Association (IMLCA) president and was part of the USILA Division III All-American Committee, U.S. National Team Selection Committee, USILA National Poll Committee during his lacrosse career. 

Coach Clarke is an offensive architect; he was an offensive coordinator at Duke University during 1992-96, where he won an ACC Championship in 1995. In addition, he served as an assistant at The Ohio State University and at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. At Roanoke, he led them to an NCAA Division III National Championship game. 

“I’m a big believer in not just getting credits & graduating, but, you know, focusing on the learning part of getting an education,” said Clarke. “So making sure that our guys are working towards graduation, yes, but that they’re working hard in the classroom and making sure they’re getting educated so when they get out they get into their first job, they’re able to succeed the number of opportunities available for the student-athletes at a school like The University of Tampa.” 

According to Clarke, two of his main points for being UT’s head coach are winning conference championships and winning national championships.

With a new coach coming in, there could be questions of changes in expectations of the incoming season, however not here. 

“I don’t think the expectations change at all. Since I’ve been here, we’ve had the goal of making it to the championship, and that will be the goal this year as well,” said Matukas. 

The new head coach believes that the school will attract student-athletes who want to play fast and aggressively. 

“Excited to get started and get after it!” said Matukas.

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