Ask Bobby Clark

Oct. 12, 2000

Mario Vasquez (San Jose, CA)
Coach, what were the reasons behind the Pac-10 schools leaving the MPSF and do you feel this will create some bitterness between the Pac-10 schools and the schools remaining in that conference?

There were several reasons for the Pac-10 teams breaking away from the MPSF. I think the main reason was that the MPSF changed every year both in size and in the way it was run. I don't think there were ever the same teams in the league any of the four years that I coached in it. This made it very difficult to make up schedules in advance and on a couple of occasions we had to reorganize at the last minute. I understand that the MPSF is again about to split up next season. Now, we are able to plan several years in advance as hopefully we have a very stable conference. The other reason was that the Pac-10 is a well-known and well recognized, stable, athletic conference. It just makes sense to use these strengths. It is a very strong conference and is arguably the strongest group of teams in the country.

Derrick Washington (Los Angeles, CA)
Thank you for what you've done with the Stanford program! Did you feel you would be able to get the program in contention for a national championship as quickly as you did? How is Jamie (Jamie Clark, Stanford 1996-98) doing in the pros? Good luck for the remainder of the season.

Thank you for your kind words. It certainly has been a fun ride so far... but there is still plenty of work to be done! We have grown a wee bit every year since my arrival five seasons ago. Every group has added something to the squad, and I feel now that we have got a great group of highly motivated young men who have a lot of fun competing for Stanford. We never look past the next game. Our aim is to make every practice a masterpiece. If we get into that habit, then each game will look after itself. You mentioned Jamie. He is still with the Earthquakes and is enjoying himself. He just underwent ankle surgery but seems to be on the mend and is in the process of getting fit for next season.

Bob Reid (Atherton, CA)
If you had the opportunity to coach the Scottish national team, would you take it? Have you had the opportunity to return to Europe?

I don't really think I would be offered this position, although two years ago I was offered the Zimbabwe national team job. I coached a club team in Zimbabwe in the early '80s. I worked with the New Zealand team from 1994-96 and, although I enjoyed the experience, I miss the day-to-day involvement that I have with a college or club team. I enjoy working with a team on a daily basis. I was also asked if I would be interested in running the youth academy at my old club, Aberdeen. I previously was the youth coach there during my last five years as a player. I enjoy working with young players, but why go back to the cold Scottish winters when I can do the exact same job here at Stanford under the California sun.

Harold Kentrall (Santa Barbara, CA)
What do you feel is the squad's strength and what areas do you feel need improving if you are to make a run at the NCAA title? Do you plan to retire a Cardinal coach?

I feel the strength of this current Stanford team is their TEAMWORK. This group is a very hardworking, highly motivated group. They put the TEAM first and themselves second. They work for each other and totally buy into the system. They know that the sum of all the parts, when working together, add up to more than the total. We are truly a synergized group. As for retiring????? You must have noticed my gray hairs!!! To be honest, I have not thought about that too much. At the moment, I am too busy!

Larry Mason (Aptos, CA)
What draws you most to coaching at the collegiate level and do you feel theproper steps have been taken to help develop the sport in this country? Whatis your most memorable moment from your playing days? Great job and bestwishes to you and your team!

I played professionally in Scotland for 20 years, but I also came out of Jordanhill College with a Phys Ed degree. I was both a soccer player and a teacher. Even through my days as a player, I always found time to teach in the afternoons in the local Aberdeen city schools. I did this for 15 years and when I finished playing, collegiate coaching offered me the best opportunity to be both a coach and a teacher. I feel college coaching is the ideal marriage of the two. If I had stayed in the UK, I would have needed to make a decision... do I coach in the pros or do I become a teacher? Neither would have satisfied me the way college coaching has done. I think soccer in this country is moving along very well. You just need to look at the results of the junior and senior national teams. We took Stanford across to Scotland and played a mixture of pro and semi-pro teams and never lost a game. I really believe that people in this country have no idea just how far the game has come.

As far as the most memorable moments from my playing days are concerned, I was lucky to have had many memorable moments...playing in the Maracana against Brazil in 1972...playing for Scotland against England at Wembley in 1971 ...winning the Scottish Cup at Hampden in 1970...but, I think my greatest moment was when we won the Scottish Premier League in 1980. I had been on teams that had been runner-up on three previous occasions, so to finally win the trophy after 15 years of trying was special. It was especially significant since shortly after that a back injury forced me on the sidelines and my last game for Aberdeen was winning the championship.

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