Former Mt. Juliet star to complete WNBA season with Seattle
From staff reports
MURFREESBORO - Former Middle Tennessee star and current WNBA player Alysha Clark has been named assistant coach for the Blue Raiders as announced by head coach Rick Insell on Thursday.
"It's a win-win for us," said Insell. "We lost a good one in Alex Fuller. To be able to replace Alex with Alysha Clark is a great opportunity for Alysha and Middle Tennessee. She knows what our expectations and goals are here at MT."
"What better person to go in and share what Middle Tennessee is about than Alysha Clark? To bring someone in with her work ethic and personality I think is fantastic for our program. We are excited to have her on board."
The former Mt. Juliet High star joins the program after spending four years playing professional ball. Clark was drafted by the San Antonio Silver Stars as the 17th pick in the second round of the 2010 WNBA draft. Although, she never played in a WNBA game with San Antonio, Clark didn't let that deter her. She signed a free agent deal with Seattle in March 2012 and appeared in 23 games for the Storm averaging 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Currently, Clark is on the Storm roster and will remain with Seattle until its season is complete this fall.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for Alysha to not only get into the coaching profession, but to get the opportunity at her alma mater," said Seattle Storm head coach and general manager Brian Agler. "Rick Insell has a great program at Middle Tennessee State University and Alysha will be a great addition to his staff. If Alysha brings her passion, knowledge and work ethic to the coaching profession she could turn into a great coach."
Clark also played overseas, logging time with Hapoel Rishon LeZion and Ramat Hasharon. In 2011-12, the former Blue Raider was named the Domestic Player of the Year by Eurobasket.com and All-Israeli First Team after averaging 14 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
One of Middle Tennessee's most decorated players, Clark spent two seasons in a Blue Raider uniform logging 1,756 career points for eighth all-time in program history. Clark averaged 27.9 points and 10.7 rebounds during her tenure. She was a two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and was named named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year twice in two prior seasons at Belmont. In addition to conference honors, Clark was the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010. With her tenure completed at Belmont and Middle Tennessee, she finished her career tied for fourth in NCAA history with 75 double-doubles and 12th in NCAA history with 2,852 points.
In 2010, Clark earned five All-America honors after being recognized by the United States Basketball Writers Association, Associated Press (second team), NetScouts Basketball (third team) and WBCA/State Farm Coaches' (honorable mention). In addition, she was named a Wade Trophy finalist.
Clark and her family moved to Mt. Juliet from Kansas when she was in 10th grade. She led the Lady Bears to two state tournaments in basketball, including the 2005 championship, and one in volleyball. She was named Miss Basketball as a senior in ‘05.
"I am very excited," Clark said. "This is such a great opportunity. Not only for me, but for the Middle Tennessee program. It's great to be connected and stay involved and to come back and help the girls that are here now and pass along what I have learned from MT. I am so grateful to Coach Insell, Chris (Massaro) and [Mt. Juliet native] Diane (Turnham) to consider me for this position. I am looking forward to it."
Clark will become the second Middle Tennessee women's basketball player to coach in a full-time capacity. Janet Ross spent three seasons as a Blue Raider assistant coach from 1989-90 to 1991-92.
Clark is expected to complete her season with the Seattle Storm and will join MTSU after the WNBA concludes its season in September. Seattle will play host to Tulsa tonight at 9 p.m. CDT.