Wilton native J.B. Clarke inducted into CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame
Wilton native J.B. Clarke, a longtime collegiate coach who has taken the Limestone College men’s lacrosse program to the top of the NCAA Division II lacrosse, was inducted into The CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame at its annual dinner last Saturday in Stratford.
He is the eighth Wilton player or coach to be inducted into The CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In addition to longtime Wilton High coaches Guy Whitten and Paul McNulty, other inductees are former WHS players Mike Pressler, Jeff Hacker, Zach Coburn, Tim Knowles and Jenn Ward Meres.
Clarke is a 1983 graduate of Wilton High School, where he played under Whitten, a CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame and National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee.
In his senior year, the Warriors went 15-4 and won their ninth state championship, beating New Canaan in overtime. Clarke was selected to the Connecticut Senior All Star, all-FCIAC, and all-state teams. After graduation, he attended and played at Roanoke College for two years and subsequently graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 1989.
Clarke’s first college coaching stop was at Ohio State University as an assistant, and then back to Roanoke. After a year as an assistant at Roanoke, he moved on to Duke University, where he worked for four years as the offensive coordinator.
In 1997, Clarke took his first head coaching position at Greensboro (N.C.) College. In his one season at Greensboro, he turned a 3-9 record from the previous year into a 9-5 mark and a top 20 Division III national ranking.
In 1998 he was hired as an assistant at Loyola and served as the Greyhounds’ offensive coordinator. The team reached the NCAA Division I semifinals that season and finished ranked second in the nation.
His next stop was as head coach at Washington College in Maryland. In his 12 seasons as head coach he guided the Shoremen to a combined 138-63 overall record, becoming the fastest coach to reach 100 wins in program history. He led the program to seven NCAA Division III tournament appearances and reached the conference championship in eight consecutive seasons.
In the summer of 2010, Clarke was hired as head coach at Limestone University in Gaffney, S.C. In his seven seasons, the Saints have made five national title game appearances and won three championships (2014, 2015, and 2017).
He has led Limestone to three straight 20-win seasons, and is coming off back-to-back 21-win campaigns — both NCAA Division II records for most wins in a year.
Clarke was named the 2014 and 2015 USILA Division II Coach of the Year.
As Limestone’s head coach, Clarke has mentored 39 All-Americans. Two of them, midfielder Mike Messenger and face-off specialist Kevin Reisman, have combined for the last three national player of the year awards.
Limestone has been especially dominant over the last four years, reaching dynasty-level accomplishments with an 81-4 overall record and three NCAA Division II championships. Clarke is the all-time winningest coach in Limestone history. He holds a 129-10 (.928) record over his first seven years including seven straight Conference Carolinas regular-season and tournament championship sweeps.
Overall, in 19 years as a head coach, Clarke boasts a combined record of 276-78 and has coached in the NCAA Final Four at the Division I, II, and III levels.
Clarke currently serves as president of the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association board of directors. He has been a member of the USILA Division II and III All-America committees, the USILA National Poll committee and the U.S. National Team selection committee.
Other inductees this year were Boyd Harden (New Canaan), Ken McCarthy (Somers), Rachel Sanford (Greenwich), Tom Zaccagnino (Madison), John Zinser (New Fairfield), and the Conard High School Class of ’67.