Clark Maloney: You Can Go Home Again
Men’s head basketball coach Clark Maloney has completely ignored the premise of Thomas Wolfe’s 1940 novel, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Not only has he come home to Mt. SAC, but he’s done it in celebratory fashion.
“It has been more of a homecoming for me, because this was where I got my start in coaching,” said Clark, who after a 14-year hiatus has returned to coach the Mounties and has led the team to its first-ever state championship.
Last month, the Mountie men made their first appearance in the state championship game since 1955 and blew out Chaffey, 102-88, racking up the highest score at a state championship game in history.
“No one thought that these kids could do this,” said Clark. “But they had such a focus going into the playoffs that they were ready to be mentioned in the same sentence as the top teams in the state. We had a lot of guys who had something to prove.”
Clark knew that with his return to the college last summer, he had a lot of work to do with a team and players who were brand new to him. There were a lot of question marks at the beginning for the Mounties in 2012-13. But a few good outings against highly-ranked teams such as Yuba and Fresno helped solidify the Mounties’ confidence, and the turning point came at the end of preseason.
Urging them to think like champions,“I told them that today there’s no more shallow water,” recalls Clark. “From here on out, it’s either sink or swim.”
Fortunately, they decided to swim—and swim hard. The rest is history. The Mounties finished the season with a 29-3 record.
“I’m proud that they accepted the fact that there’s nothing wrong with hard work,” he says of his championship team. “They were good listeners and hard workers.”
Clark’s first tour of duty at Mt. SAC started with his first coaching assignment under head coach Ralph Osterkamp for the 1992-93 season. Two years later, he was named the Mounties’ head coach when Osterkamp retired.
Then after the 1998 season, Clark left Mt. SAC for a series of university coaching positions, including five years at St. Thomas University in Florida where he led a new program to two conference championships and two trips to the NAIA national championships. He also compiled winning records at Salem International University in West Virginia and West Texas A&M before returning to Mt. SAC.
“It was easy coming back, in a sense, because I knew the institution and I knew a lot of the people who were here before,” he says. “And at the same time, it was kind of eerie. It was the same carpet, the same desk, the same office. It was like I was in a dream.”
Of course while some things remain the same, it’s also true that a lot has changed in 14 years. With new buildings scattered across the landscape over the last decade and a half, he says he nearly needed a map to navigate the campus.
A native of Chickasha, Okla., Clark was a standout point guard during his playing days for Central Junior College and Mid America Nazarene University, both in Kansas. He helped lead Mid America to its first conference championship and received his bachelor’s there. Once he came to California and started at Mt. SAC, he went on to earn his master’s from Azusa Pacific University.
With his return to Walnut with his wife and daughter, who was born during his first stint at Mt. SAC, the cycle is now complete. Coming back to the college was a non-issue for the family. And no matter where his travels have taken him, Clark Maloney knows that he’s now home at Mt. SAC.
“It’s just feels like here is where I’m supposed to be,” he says, smiling.
—Mike Taylor (Posted 4-12-13)
Accounting Professor Saves Lives
as Search/Rescue Volunteer
Adjunct business professor Dave Little’s compassion for people extends far beyond the classroom. As a reserve deputy sheriff with the San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team, Dave played a heroic role in a tedious search-and-rescue mission recently for a hiker who was lost in the Angeles National Forest on one of the coldest nights in six years.
Temperatures were down in the teens on the night of Jan. 12, when the 28-year-old hiker got separated from his companions near the Bear Creek Trial area above Azusa. Somehow the man, clad in a light jacket with no food or water, survived the below-freezing conditions when the 50 search-and-rescue team members found him. He suffered from hypothermia, a broken shoulder, and a head wound, caused by a fall during the night. But otherwise, he was ok.
“For what this hiker went through, he was a pretty lucky guy,” Dave told KTLA-TV news as well as other media outlets, including ABC and CBS.
Now in his 11th year with the search-and-rescue team, Dave is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for emergencies such as missing persons, accidents, downed aircraft, and wildfire evacuations. He estimates that in the past year alone, he has participated in 60 to 70 operations and has volunteered more than 700 hours.
Dave got involved with the Sheriff’s Department Mountain Rescue Team right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Being the only non-military member of a family steeped in military tradition, he views his Sheriff’s reserve role as the ideal alternative.
“This role gives me the opportunity to serve the community and save lives while still being close to home with my wife (Marissa, a Mt. SAC alum) and two kids (Hayden, 7, and Sadie, 5),” he says.
Currently, Dave is in charge of the search-and-rescue team’s volunteer training program, and it’s no exaggeration to call it rigorous. Recruits undergo nine months of mountain training, five months of training with the Sheriff’s Academy, and another 200 hours of training as an emergency medical technician.
“It’s a heavy commitment, requiring about two to three years to complete,” he notes.
Dave’s association with Mt. SAC began as a student. He graduated in 1992, and knew even then that “I wanted to give back to Mt. SAC.” He transferred to and graduated from Pepperdine University and enjoyed a successful career as an accountant and financial consultant, working with noted firms such as Ernst & Young. Currently he is director of strategic corporate finance for Pardee Homes. And three years ago, he returned to Mt. SAC to teach accounting classes part time.
“Mt. SAC was a stepping stone for me,” he says. “And this is a way for me to give back to the institution that helped me.”
As if juggling his responsibilities as a reserve deputy, finance director, and adjunct professor is not enough, Dave and Marissa have also founded a summer camp program for families like theirs who have a child (Sadie) with Down’s syndrome. The “Our Own Family Camp” brings families together to share their experiences. Last year, the project had grown to over 130 campers.
So whether it’s serving on the search-and-rescue team, helping students at Mt. SAC, or bringing families together, Dave is a tireless volunteer who is fortunate to have a family who understands his passion for helping others.
“Our search-and-rescue team saved the lives of five people on Christmas Eve who otherwise might not have made it,” says Dave. “So when I reflect on the important role we serve, I have no regrets.”—Mike Taylor ( Posted 2-5-13)
Link to 2012 Spotlights