Marble Falls ISD’s Girls Athletics program has captured Mustang fans’ attention and their passion for student achievement over the past two seasons. It is not hard to find examples of that success. The Lady Mustangs have experienced wins on the fields, on the courts, and on the run. The Lady Mustang Basketball Team advanced to the Regional Semifinals last year and is experiencing an 11-1 District season this year. Volleyball won more games this year than anyone can remember. Softball is competing with the top teams in Central Texas. Marble Falls’ runners are moving up into State rankings. Best of all, Marble Falls Girls Athletics is sending its athletes on to compete at the Intercollegiate level in all of their sports!
When Mustang fans start looking for the basis of the Girls Athletics success, it is impossible to understand without exploring the very foundation of the program. The place where athletes are motivated, they learn discipline, they give and receive respect, and they learn to invest their talents and time in the hard work it takes to be a top student athlete. Coach Kelly Clark is the leader you will find instilling these foundational principles with her coaches and students during the athletic drills and instruction at Marble Falls Middle School.
Clark is modest about her contributions. She is quick to note that she works with very positive, energetic coaches and teachers at the Middle School and at Marble Falls High School. Nevertheless, the High School coaches who benefit from her work inspiring winning student athletes know that Clark’s work to continue the long tradition of Marble Falls Middle School’s Girls Athletics deserves notice.
Clark is a 1982 Marble Falls graduate who went on to become a four-year scholarship Hall of Honor Basketball player for Angelo State University (2015). She still holds records as the University’s leading scorer and rebounder.
“In today’s world, kids learn that it does matter how you do things,” said John Berkman, MFHS Girls Coordinator and the Lady Mustangs Head Basketball Coach. “When someone like Coach Clark is there year-after-year sharing her past experiences as an award-winning university athlete, it garners a lot of respect from the kids. We talk about how important consistency is for our program. Coach Clark provides that consistency. She’s been here a long time establishing solid routines and expectations for success.”
Clark’s own athletic passion took off at Marble Falls Middle School. She started when girls’ basketball was a half court 3-on-3 format. When it moved to full court 5-on-5, Clark’s excitement about playing basketball and competitive sports grew into what is a life-long passion.
“Coach Clark taught all of her athletes, from the moment she started coaching us, that sports are not merely about skills, talent, or winning,” said former student and Lady Mustang standout McKayla Campbell. “Sports are about commitment, hard work, and effort. Not one moment did I ever wish that I was somewhere else, and this is due to the fact that Coach Clark was truly caring, inspiring, and devoted.”
Her students know Clark as a loving disciplinarian. She often reminds students that good grades are expected, a positive attitude is necessary, and that if you want to improve, you cannot take shortcuts. Students share how they thrived during competition with Clark coaching because they knew they could depend on her to encourage and inspire them to compete.
“Coach Clark has influenced the person I am today,” said Lady Mustang Lillie Deeds. “Coach Clark has shown me how to be an exceptional leader on and off the court, and she has taught me to never give up!”
Clark gets excited when she coaches the skills for each game. While some coaches spend most of their time cheering on their players, Clark takes time to teach her athletes that it is important to know how to play each position in a sport.
“Being the tallest player on my team, she taught me not to be afraid to step out the perimeter,” explains Aubree Adams, a senior leader on this year’s Lady Mustangs. “She was key in helping figure out the role I played on the basketball team.”
When asked why she thinks the Lady Mustangs are experiencing so much success, Clark smiled and mirrored what new Athletic Director, Rick Hoover, said recently, “It is important to build consistency starting in 6th grade. Consistency in coaches, consistency in discipline, and consistency in respect both in the classroom and on the court. We encourage our athletes to build on the skills they have and step up to be leaders!”