READING, Pa., Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Alvernia University announced Ralph Clark as its inaugural head football coach, during a Jan. 5 press conference at its Reading campus. Alvernia Football will officially kick off fall 2018. Coach Clark's first official day will be Jan. 11, 2017 after he returns from the American Football Coaches Association Annual Convention, in Nashville.
Coach Ralph Clark comes to Alvernia from Seton Hill University, with 19 years of experience at the NCAA Division I-FCS, Division II, Division III and high school levels. His coaching stops include Saint Francis (Pa.) Northeastern and Georgetown universities.
"Building a top NCAA football program from the ground up is a rare opportunity," said Athletic Director Bill Stiles. "We anticipated there would be interest in the position but had no idea there would be over 300 applications. Our search committee of administrators, faculty, coaches and students did an amazing job reviewing and culling the pool of applicants."
"Coach Clark has expressed a desire to recruit and develop men of character, who will graduate as champions of both the classroom and the athletic field. His experience recruiting in Pa., and the Mid-Atlantic region was a real positive to the committee," said Stiles.
President Tom Flynn spoke highly of Clark's background, and his enthusiasm for the university's mission to be a "Distinctive Franciscan University" committed to the community.
"In addition to his experience coaching at several excellent universities, Ralph Clark impressed me as an articulate, values-based leader with passion for developing impressive student-athletes and building a football program," said Flynn.
Clark was a four-year letter winner of Robert Morris University's first football team. He was selected as an Unsung Hero All-American following his senior season and was invited for a free agent tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During Thursday's on-campus press conference, Clark thanked university leaders for trusting him to lead the development of Alvernia's new program.
"It's evident to me that there is a family component that connects everyone at Alvernia," Clark said. "That is something that you do not find everywhere, and quite frankly was important for me because next to my faith, family is the most important thing to me and it is something that I will be stressing to student-athletes as we begin recruiting. They're not just joining a football program, they're joining our family."
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SOURCE Alvernia University