From BR Bullpen
Claudell E. Clark
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.
Claudell Clark became a college coach at age 25.
Clark was a two-way star at Norfolk State University, pitching and playing the outfield. In 2000, he had a 7-3, 3.05 record with a school-record 92 strikeouts in 76 2/3 IP, giving up only 49 hits. He led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in ERA, wins and strikeouts to take the pitching Triple Crown. He was named as the All-Conference pitcher. As a senior, he fell to 4-5, 4.46 despite 79 K in 71 IP. He was named the MEAC Tournament MVP, though. He finished among the school's all-time leaders in strikeouts (249, 2nd), innings, wins, appearances and strikeouts per nine innings (9.9, 1st). He earned a degree in physical education.
The Pittsburgh Pirates took Clark in the 28th round of the 2001 amateur draft; another African-American left-hander picked even lower (Shane Youman) by Pittsburgh would make the majors. Clark had a respectable rookie year with the Williamsport Crosscutters, going 1-4 with a save and a 3.86 ERA in 18 outings. He struck out 26 and walked 24 in 30 1/3 IP but gave up just 17 hits for a .171 opponent average, lowest on a team featuring future big leaguers John Van Benschoten and Ian Snell. The Crosscutters were declared co-New York-Penn League champions when the finals were ended by the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Unfortunately, that was it for Clark's professional career as an injury ended his time in the minors after that one somewhat promising season.
In 2003, Clark became assistant coach at his alma mater. In 2005, he became interim head coach four games into the year. After two years as interim head coach, he got the job permanently in 2006. The school won 25 games in both 2007 and 2008, the most since they had joined NCAA Division I.