Our beloved friend Bill Clark, the inspiration for the foundation that now bears his name, was, among many other wonderful things, a natural-born coach. He was crazy about how well sportsmanship could work upon the soul of a young person. Bill was born and raised in the Bronx, where he attended St. Helena Elementary School and St. Raymond’s Boys High School. Like so many alumni of those fine institutions, he was no sooner out of the intramural basketball program as a player that he was back as a coach and a referee.
He started playing football for the Pelham Bay Spartans while he was still in grade school, and by the time he had graduated from high school, he was helping to shape their future as well.
The circle of us who work to honor his memory were blessed to know both the boy and the man, and we can attest to the fact that from the first, Bill was destined to be the kind of kid that any coach would want on his team, and the kind of man that any kid would want for a coach. Bill was quietly strong and fiercely loyal. He was a student of every aspect of both football and baseball. He gave his all to everything he did and he offered his teammates what he offered his friends: every opportunity to shine, and every ounce of his support.
Shortly after high school, Bill relocated with his family to Nanuet, New York, where he would meet the love of his life. Dorothy and Bill developed a large and affectionate circle of friends in Rockland County, but no sooner had Bill settled into his new neighborhood that he began driving the boys from the Bronx over the Tappan Zee Bridge. We knew then what we can tell you now: That Bill had unlimited room in his heart and in his life for friendship. He was just in his twenties, but he was already making a lasting impression upon the lives of young aspiring athletes. Bill was an ardent fan of the Mets and the Jets, of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seeger, of major motion pictures and all-night poker games. He was also a wonderful companion who put people instantly at ease. He was both willing and able to state a strong opinion, but he was the most accomplished listener in a roomful of orators. Bill Clark was a brother to every person with whom he came into contact and he always put the needs of others before his own. Those of us who have the privilege of knowing and loving him would have had him live one hundred years, but we are astonished by how much love, laughter, and goodness he managed to cram into his life and time.
We proceed with the little good we are able to do, and we are ever mindful of the fact that anyone who benefits from this foundation would have benefited much more from Bill Clark’s friendship.