Football Hires Monte Clark as O-Line Coach
Clark is regarded as one of the finest offensive line coaches in the sport on any level.
Jan. 16, 1998
BERKELEY, Calif. - Cal head coach Tom Holmoe scored a coup today with the announcement that he has hired Monte Clark as the Bears offensive line coach. Clark, 60, is regarded as one of the finest offensive line coaches in the sport on any level and brings with him a broad spectrum of experience at both the collegiate and professional level. During his 17-year coaching career, Clark not only has nearly a decade of offensive line experience, but he spent eight years as a head coach in the NFL. "Monte Clark is a great addition to our coaching staff," said Holmoe. "Technically, he is clearly one of the best in the business terms of teaching offensive line play and I think our players will really grow under his expertise. He'll also provide maturity and leadership to our coaching staff and think he'll fit in perfectly. I'm just thrilled he expressed an interest in coming here to Cal and helping us continue to build a championship program."
His most recent stint was a two-year span from 1993 to '94 as Stanford's offensive line coach under Bill Walsh. During his time on the farm, he served on the same coaching staff as Holmoe and current Cal offensive coordinator Doug Cosbie. Clark has spent the last three years in retirement, but caught the urge to return to the football field and quickly accepted Holmoe's offer to join the Cal staff. "When Tom called and started talking about the job, I became more and more excited," said Clark. "Having an opportunity to work with guys I really like and respect in Tom (Holmoe) and Doug (Cosbie) was a big part of it, but it was also being able to get back on the field and help develop young players. I really have a passion for the game of football and the offensive line has always been my speciality. I've always taken pride in having lines that work in precision and that's what we'll hope to build here at Cal." Coaching legend Bill Walsh also believes that the hiring of Cal will pay immediate dividends for the Golden Bear football program. "This is really a coup for Cal," said Walsh. "Monte established himself as the premier offensive line coach in the game when he was with the Miami Dolphins and he revolutionized pass protection and run blocking schemes. He's just a master of the game. The other thing is that his players really respond to him because of his peronality and his knowledge. I think he'll have a major impact on the program at Cal."
After 11 seasons as a NFL offensive lineman, Clark began his coaching career under legendary Don Shula with the Miami Dolphins in 1970. He was a big part of one of the greatest eras for any team in the history of the NFL over six seasons (1970-75). While serving as offensive line coach for the Dolphins, he not only helped develop two Hall of Famers in guard Larry Little and center Jim Langer, but all five of his starting offensive linemen became all-pros under his tutelage. Miami went to three consecutive Super Bowls in 1971, '72 and '73, winning the ultimate title the last two years. The Dolphins 1972 team posted a perfect 17-0 record and set a new NFL rushing record with 2,960 yards. Clark was hired in 1976 as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and led them to an 8-6 record.
After spending the '77 season out of football, the Detroit Lions hired him as head coach where he spent the next seven seasons (1977-84). His Lions teams made a pair of playoff appearances in 1982 and '83 and Clark led the team to its first NFC Central Division title in 26 years with a 9-7 record in '83. Overall, he compiled a 43-63-1 record in Detroit. After working as a radio color analyst for the Univ. of Michigan and the Detroit Lions from 1987 to '89, Clark accepted an offer to coach the Minsk Belarus Zubers, a professional American Football League team in the Soviet Union, in 1991. He then came back to be a radio analyst for Michigan State in '92.
In January of 1993, Clark was hired by Bill Walsh to coach the Stanford offensive line where he spend two seasons. Among the players he coached on the Farm, was center Chris Dalman, who has gone on to a long NFL career with the S.F. 49ers.
Clark also enjoyed a distinguished playing career. After playing four years at USC on both the offensive and defensive line and being a team co-captain his senior year in 1958, Clark was a fourth round draft choice of the 49ers in 1959.
He played the next three seasons with San Francisco and then was traded to the Dallas Cowboys where he spent the 1962 season. He ended his career as a starting offensive tackle with the Cleveland Browns for the next seven seasons (1963-69). While there, he helped the Browns to a pair of NFL title games, winning the championship in 1964 and losing to the Green Bay Packers in '65.
A native of Kingsburg, CA, Clark has three sons, Bryan, Randy and Eric. Bryan played four seasons as a quarterback in the NFL with San Francisco (1982-83), Cincinnati (1984) and Miami (1984-85).