Clark Hopes To Take Ashland Volleyball To The Next Level

The Jason Clark era of a Ashland volleyball is set to begin. Clark, who was hired in April, came to Ashland with 381 wins in his career while collecting 10 All “A” Region titles and nine District championships. Clark has 13 region tournament appearances and won two 16th Region crowns with Raceland. He has also been named the KVCA Region Coach of the Year four times.

Clark has already been hard at work with the squad in preparation of the season. They played a lot over the summer, including a summer league which featured some of the top squads from the region.

“We have a very strong team coming back,” said Clark. “I feel like we might be a little more polished. We have a lot of our top players back as well as some talented younger players.”

Ashland finished 30-9 last season, but Clark feels like he can help translate wins into more championships.

“Ashland has always been athletic and gotten a lot of wins,” stated Clark. “They have had three regional championships, but you’re looking at 11 years ago. What were are trying to do is ‘Rep the A’. And the A means Advancement. It means advancement in our school, our community, our family, our faith and all of that. Faith, family, academics and our team. We want to advance the community the best we can.”

Clark went on to explain that his team is filling Blessing Boxes on Thursday. After all, he says that one can’t lead if they can’t serve.

“If serving others is beneath you, leading others is beyond you,” he said. “You’re never going to be a leader if you can’t serve. That’s our big motto. Let’s lead by serving.”

The Kittens have some great players on this year’s team, including Khia Robinson, Grace Clark and Sadie Chaffins.

Clark is the coach’s daughter and recent UPike signee. Robinson recently spoke with Fairleigh Dickinson head coach David Nguyen when he came to help at Ashland’s camp. Clark has known Nguyen for several years. Nguyen was named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year last season. While he helped out with the entire Ashland team, Clark said that Nguyen helped with his own personal growth as a coach.

“Learning and being able to teach different things is key,” he said. “Bringing him in got me really excited to coach this week. He ran some drills and plays that I had never seen. That was really great for my own coaching development.”

Clark currently sits at 19 wins away from 400 for his career, and he says that is an important goal for him.

“I tell my team to always write their goals down,” he said. “As coaches, I feel like we have to do the same thing. And I’ll be honest. 400 wins is a goal of mine. I don’t mean it in a selfish way, but if I tell my girls to set goals, I am going to set them for myself.”

Currently, Natalie Karle is Clark’s only assistant, but he said that another assistant coaching position will be filled soon by one of several great candidates who have applied.

Ashland has a strong schedule featuring premiere events like the Champions of the Mountains Classic in Pikeville, the Dink Scott Memorial Tournament at Montgomery County, the Boyd County Invitational and the Fillie Fall Fling at Harrison County.

“We have a tough schedule,” he added. “I feel like we have an exciting schedule. We are trying to schedule the best teams in the tri-state area. We play a lot of tough teams that will push us.”

One possible good omen for Clark, an Ashland native, is the house that he happened to move into a house built by legendary coach James A. Anderson. Anderson led Ashland’s basketball program to a National Championship in 1928. In fact, the gym at the high school is named after him.

“To be back in Ashland and in a house built by James A. Anderson is unreal,” he said. “I didn’t know this when I moved in, but he had this house built in the 30s. And now I get the opportunity to coach in James A. Anderson gymnasium. That is so amazing and humbling as a kid who grew up here and went to that gymnasium to watch and play games. I had no idea that I bought the house of the man who built the House of Ashland. It means so much to me.”

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