If Glendale Joy Christian was looking for an experienced coach to lead its boys basketball program, it appears the Eagles have found the right man in Kipp Clark.
Clark, hired near the end of the 2013-14 school year, has been head coach in the Valley at Phoenix Horizon and Phoenix North Canyon, an assistant at Anthem Boulder Creek when it won the old Class 5A Division II state title in 2010, the head women’s coach at South Mountain Community College, and a head coach for two years at a school in Maryland.
“It is a comfortable situation for me. It will help me grow professionally. It’s an all-around better situation,’’ Clark said.
He steps into a program that appears to be developing into an annual state-championship contender in Division IV. Joy won the state title in 2012-13 with a 32-2 record and finished 20-10 last season under Scott Brown, now the headmaster at the K through 12 school.
Clark worked for Brown at North Canyon when Brown was the athletic director there and knew him long before that, when Clark played high school ball in Kansas and Brown was involved with basketball in the same area.
Clark already has had some meetings with some of his players and has watched them play, but not necessarily all at the same time.
Since Joy is a smaller school, more of its athletes tend to play multiple sports, like those at bigger schools did in the “old days,’’ before specialization.
“That’s the difficult part, but I know they are good athletes and I think we are all on the same page about what we are working to accomplish,’’ Clark said.
He expects to have a big senior class, and will have the challenge of utilizing that experience while at the same trying to get some of his younger players some experience of their own.
“To me, experience is better than anything else,’’ Clark said. “You can have a player with all of the talent in the world, but he’s not going to be able to help you much without any experience.’’
Joy likely won’t have a freshman team, so those young men will gain experience on the junior varsity, and a few might even find their way onto the varsity, And in the case of one freshman guard in particular, Clark said he might have a chance to start.
“The JV plays at a pretty good pace, and so will we,’’ Clark said. “You have to understand the pace.’’
Clark was a substitute teacher late in the school year at Joy, and he hopes to land a full-time teaching spot. He also will serve as an assistant AD for new AD and football coach Brian Cole.
“So I will be on campus pretty much all the time. That helps a lot,’’ Clark said. “I’m excited about working with these kids. We all want to be competitive.’’