The winningest coach in Georgia College soccer history, Hope Clark finished her sixth season at the helm of the Bobcat soccer program in 2015. Clark came to Milledgeville after three seasons as the head coach of the women’s soccer program at Auburn University Montgomery.
Clark owns an 84-76-14 overall coaching record, including 49-54-10 at the helm for the Bobcats. She has been responsible for three 10-win seasons at Georgia College, the most for any coach in program history.
In her six seasons, the Bobcats have put eight members on the All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Teams, including four All-Region honorees. Ally Barys was named Academic All-American in 2015, and also took the Elite 15 Award for top GPA at the PBC Tournament. She has also coached 17 Peach Belt All-Academic Team members.
GC Soccer has earned a spot in the PBC Tournament in every season with Clark as coach, including the school’s lone PBC Championship game appearance in 2013, coming a penalty kick shootout away from playing in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history.
The 2015 season featured another 10-win affair at 10-8-2, with a 7-4 mark in Peach Belt play, a school record for PBC victories in a season. The Bobcats also earned hosting duties for a PBC Tournament Quarterfinal. Ragnheidur Bjarnadottir earned a spot on the NSCAA All-Southeast Region Third Team, the first midfielder to do so in Georgia College history.
In 2014, GC Soccer went 7-10-1, including a 6-2-1 mark at home. The Bobcats advanced to the Quarterfinal round of the PBC Tournament.
The 2013 Bobcat soccer campaign produced its second straight double digit winning season and a winning overall record. GC soccer finished 10-7-3 with a 5-4-2 conference mark, earning the No. 6-seed in the PBC Tournament. The Bobcats beat No. 3-seed Armstrong in the first round, and then No. 2-seed Columbus State 2-1 in the semifinals, the program’s first win against CSU. The Bobcats then fell during the championship game during a penalty-kick shootout against the No. 1 seed Clayton State. In 2013, the Bobcats put two players on the All-Southeast Region Team in Abby Dalton and Ashley Veilleux. Dalton was also tabbed an All-Region Scholar.
In 2012, GC soccer finished 10-8-1 with a 5-5-1 conference mark, earning the No. 6-seed in the PBC Tournament. The Bobcats fell at Columbus State in the quarterfinals 3-0, but picked up three wins over nationally-ranked opponents, and an All-Region honoree during the season.
During the 2011 season, Clark pushed a young Bobcat team to a 5-14 mark, including a 4-6 record in the conference. The squad made the PBC Tournament as the No. 8-seed, and battled regular-season champ Armstrong to a 1-0 loss.
In 2010, the Bobcats went 7-7-3 overall with a 4-4-2 conference mark, advancing to the PBC Tournament. The year was highlighted with wins over nationally-ranked teams in #8 Armstrong Atlantic and #13 Florida Tech.
Clark compiled a 35-22-4 mark in her three years at AUM, including advancing to the second round of the 2009 NAIA National Championship Tournament. In her three seasons, the Lady Senators had seven All-Americans, six all-region players and 13 total all-conference honorees. In 2009, AUM was an impressive 15-5-2, falling by penalty-kick shootout in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Championship to the eventual 2009 National Champions. The Lady Senators opened the NAIA National Tournament with a 5-3 drubbing of Embry-Riddle before falling in the second round 3-2 to No. 3 California Baptist.
The 2007 Lady Senators, Clark’s first squad as a collegiate head coach, finished with a strong 14-5-1 record, advanced to the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament semifinals and earned a berth in the NAIA regional tournament. Clark’s 2008 team struggled through a tough regular-season schedule combined with injuries to finish just 6-12-1, but did advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament and produced the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Offensive Player of the Year, two first-team All-SSAC players and an All-American.
Clark has previously worked in Georgia, where she spent one year as head coach of varsity boys soccer at Spalding High School. Her collegiate coaching experience includes two seasons (2002-03) as an assistant at the University of Tampa, where she was directly responsible for the training and development of the Spartans’ goalkeepers. In both of her seasons at Tampa, UT’s goalie was voted second-team all-conference and the 2003 Tampa team reached the NCAA postseason.
Clark’s first collegiate coaching experience came as an assistant at American University in Washington, D.C., in 2000-01. In 2001, Clark’s work with the Eagles’ goalkeeper helped American earn a Patriot League co-championship and All-Patriot League and All-Patriot League Tournament honors for the student-athlete.
Clark spent 2004 through 2006 helping develop some of the top youth soccer talent in Georgia as a staff coach with the Olympic Development Program/Georgia Youth Soccer Association. In addition, she spent 2006 as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Glory United Football Club in Hampton, Ga., and 2004 and 2005 as director of goalkeeping and staff coach for the AFC Lightning Soccer Club in Fayetteville, Ga.
A native of Louisiana, the former Hope Handley played collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. She was a member of VT’s first-ever recruiting class as a freshman in 1994 and lettered all four years at Tech. As a sophomore, Clark was selected as the Hokies’ most valuable player and named third-team All-Mid-Atlantic Region following a season in which she set the Atlantic-10 Conference single-season record for saves with 179. Clark was the first Tech women’s soccer player ever named All-Mid-Atlantic Region.
Clark played semi-professional soccer in 2005 and 2006 with the Atlanta Silverbacks in the women’s division of the United Soccer Leagues. She has been the assistant director of The Last Defense Goalkeeping Academy and worked with Region 3 Olympic Development Program on staff. Clark earned her bachelor’s degree in human nutrition foods and exercise from Virginia Tech and her master’s degree in health and fitness management from American University.
Clark holds a United States Soccer Federation “B” license and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Goalkeeping Diploma.
Clark has held and continues to hold positions on many committees around the game of soccer. She was a member of the NSCAA Southeast Region Ranking Committee in 2011 and 2014. She also currently holds a spot on the NCAA Women’s Soccer Coaches Regional Selection Committee as well as the NCAA Southeast Regional Advisory Committee for women’s soccer.
She is married to Richonne Clark, brother of US National Player Ricardo Clark. Hope and Richonne have a daughter, Zion. The Clarks reside in Milledgeville.