Ex-USC Lineman Monte Clark Dies

Sept. 17, 2009

Monte Clark, the co-captain of the 1958 USC football team who then played and coached in the NFL, including serving as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, died on Wednesday (Sept. 16) in Detroit, Mich., after an extended illness with a bone marrow malignancy associated with lung and liver disease. He was 72.

Clark lettered at USC for 3 seasons (1956-58) as a right tackle out of Kingsburg (Calif.) High. The 1956 squad went 8-2 and defeated both UCLA and Notre Dame.

He was a fourth round pick in the 1959 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent 11 seasons as an NFL defensive and offensive tackle: 3 with the 49ers (1959-61), 1962 with the Dallas Cowboys and 7 with the Cleveland Browns (1963-69). He was a member of the Browns' 1964 NFL championship squad. He blocked for Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown during his last 3 seasons with the Browns.

He then began his coaching career as an assistant handling the offensive line with the Miami Dolphins for 6 years (1970-75), where he coached Hall of Fame linemen Larry Little and Jim Langer. The Dolphins played in 3 Super Bowls during that span, including winning in 1972 and 1973 (the 1972 team went 17-0).

Clark then served as the 49ers head coach in 1976 (posting an 8-6 record) before becoming the Lions head coach for 7 seasons (1978-84). He had a 63-61-1 regular season mark with the Lions and led the team to NFL playoff appearances in 1982 and 1983 (the 1983 squad won the NFL Central Division title for the first time in 26 years).

He returned to football in 1990 as the Dolphins director of player personnel, then was the offensive line coach at Stanford for 2 seasons (1993-94), with the Dolphins in 1995 and at California in 1998. For the next 10 years (1999-2008), he served as a consultant for the Lions.

He also had a stint as the head coach of the Minsk Belarus Zubers, an American pro football team in the Soviet Union, as well as being a football broadcaster in Detroit, a color analyst for Michigan and a sideline reporter for Michigan State.

Clark is survived by his wife of 52 years, Charlotte, sons Randy, Bryan and Eric and 8 grandchildren, as well as his brother, Don, and sisters Dolene and Kathy.

Funeral arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kirk in the Hills Church Outreach and Benevolence Funds (1340 Long Lake Rd., Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302, 248-626-2515).

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