basketball

Gary Clark

Gary Clark

One of the finest high school athletes ever produced in this area was Gary Clark.

Born on August 12, 1935 in Little Valley, Clark moved to Chautauqua County when he was eight years old and went on to become a superb performer at Frewsburg Central School.

From 1949-1953, Clark lettered and started all four years in basketball and baseball. He also lettered in track as a senior and played on the volleyball and bowling teams.

Clark set the county record with 417 points as a junior. He averaged 23.02 points per game. As a senior, Clark scored 441 points. He finished his four-year career with 1,171, which was a record at that time.

During his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons he was selected to the Class C League All-Star Team.

In track and field at the Chautauqua County Championships, Clark won the 440 and the shotput. He was the lone double-winner in the event, that also saw Class B and C schools joined by AAA-AA-A teams. At the Section 6 Class C Championships, Clark established a school record of 54.2 in the 440, which was broken just a few years before his induction into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

The baseball team in his sophomore season captured the Section 6 title and he played first base. As a senior, he had the high series of 540 when the Bears won the Chautauqua County Bowling title.

After graduation, Clark took his talents to Syracuse University where he started on the freshman basketball squad. He scored 170 points as a sophomore, 308 points as a junior and 444 points as a senior. He was named the team's Most Improved Player following his sophomore and junior seasons.

As a senior, Clark led the Orangemen with 83 percent (116-140) from the foul line to rank among the top 10 in the country. Besides leading the club in point production, Clark held the school record with 14 free throws in a game.

By scoring more than 400 points, Clark placed second to teammate Vinnie Cohen's 605 points. Both totals shattered the previous standard of 429 points and it was the first time in school's history that two players went over a combined 1,000 points.

Clark placed sixth in the nation in scoring and was only one of 13 players who ever scored more than 400 points in a season. He was selected a first team NCAA Eastern All-Star and was chosen second team All-American on the All-Methodist squad.

On April 18, 1957, Clark was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers of the National Basketball Association. He was chosen in the fourth round, but decided his future was in the Army.

In 1958-1959, he guided his military team to a 50-4 record and the following year was voted the Outstanding Player in the Second Army Tournament. In 1960, he was selected to try out for the All-Army Team.

Locally, he played basketball in several leagues and led teams to championships. Among the teams he played for was the highly-regarded Warren Beverages squad.

Baseball-wise, Clark tossed a 2-1 no-hitter for the Jamestown Telephone Company against the Boys Club. He also performed in Class AA Muny League.

In 1988, he averaged 191.9 in bowling. His all-time high game is a 278 and his high series is a 779.

In 1988, Clark finished with a golf handicap of 6 at Moon Brook Country Club.

Gary Clark was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

 

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Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame
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