By SAMANTHA PIDDE

West Carroll School Board members held a special closed session meeting Wednesday, June 3, at the middle school to make several employment decisions, including hiring a new driver's ed teacher and varsity football coach.

Following a three-hour closed session, the board hired William “Teo” Clark as the high school driver’s education teacher and head varsity football coach for the 2020-21 school year, pending a background check.

Clark was raised in Winston County, Ala. His father was a truck driver, and his mother helped run the family business while raising three children. He has an older brother and a younger sister.

“My passion for football began at the age of five when I joined my first youth league,” Clark said in a brief biography provided to the Mirror-Democrat and Times-Journal by WCHS Principal Ben Asche.

Added Clark, “I carried this passion as a player through high school and into college where I walked on to the University of Alabama as a quarterback for a year, and the University of North Alabama as a safety for two years."

Clark’s biography continued that although his playing career had ended in college, he still wanted to be involved in the game. He began volunteering at local schools to assist with their junior high programs, with his first official high school assistant coach’s job at Cherokee High School in Alabama.

Clark said he worked as a custodian, noting he made just enough to continue coaching and help provide for his family. He was hired for his first teaching/coaching job at Desoto Central High School in Southaven, Mo., where he was able to "continue to grow as a coach, teacher, and more importantly, as a person."

"Through my experience with football, I have learned many lessons that have better prepared me for life,” Clark wrote. “There is something about laying it all on the line for the greater good of your teammates, buying in to what the focus of the team is about, and building memories with teammates that last a life time.

"In addition to the many selfless lessons learned throughout football, I also learned that no matter how difficult the obstacle may be, you should never give up."

Clark wrote that he is "very blessed" to say that he is husband to Amanda Clark, and father of three “wonderful children: Troy, Julie, and Layla.”

Clark succeeds Thunder varsity football coach Matt Leitzen, who recently was hired as the new head football coach at Stockton High School, his alma mater, where he will also be a physical education teacher. Clark also replaces long-time WCHS driver’s ed teacher Kevin Venner, who is moving from the area.

Also during the June 3 meeting, the board hired Clark's wife, Amanda, as the new WCHS counselor and National Honor Society advisor for the 2020-21 school year, pending a background check.

"We are very blessed to receive this tremendous opportunity,” William Clark said in a statement. “My wife and I were raised in a small town, and we are very excited that West Carroll High School has given us the opportunity to be a part of the community," Clark said. "We can't wait to get to know everyone and share our vision with West Carroll High School football and the community."

In another matter, the board approved a two-year extension for Supt. Julie Katzenberger's current contract. No additional details were provided.