OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Former Ole Miss defensive back Charles Clark is returning to Oxford where he will serve as the Rebels’ 10th assistant coach and work with the secondary, head coach Matt Luke announced Friday.
Clark, a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at safety for the Rebels from 2003-06, has coached at Duke, San Jose State, Colorado and Oregon, where he spent the 2017 season as cornerbacks coach. Notably, his 2016 secondary with the Buffaloes ranked among the best in the nation.
During his time roaming the Ole Miss secondary, Clark appeared in 47 games, including 34 straight starts during his sophomore, junior and senior campaigns. The Green Cove Springs, Florida, native tallied 198 tackles, three interceptions, 12 pass breakups and five fumble recoveries during his Rebel career.
“It’s always exciting whenever one of our own returns home, but even more so when they bring the level of expertise, leadership and success like Coach Clark,” Luke said. “From both a coaching and recruiting standpoint, Charles knows what it takes to win a championship at the Power 5 level, and we look forward to adding his energy and toughness to our defensive staff.”
Prior to Oregon, Clark spent four seasons at Colorado, coaching safeties for two seasons before moving to cornerbacks for the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. Clark’s secondary was instrumental in helping the Buffs to the 2016 Pac-12 Conference South Division title, finishing second in the league and 21st in the country in passing defense (193.6 ypg) and tied for third in the nation in passing yards allowed per attempt (5.7). Four of Clark’s defensive backs earned Pac-12 all-conference honors, and three seniors in the secondary were drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft.
Before Colorado, Clark coached defensive backs at San Jose State from 2010 to 2012. His unit led the WAC in interceptions (15) and forced turnovers (31) in 2012, and he helped to mold Duke Ihenacho into an All-Western Athletic Conference selection and future NFL player. Three of Clarks’s players earned WAC all-conference honors, and Peyton Thompson and Bene Benwikere joined Ihenacho as selections in the NFL Draft.
Clark began his coaching career at Duke in 2008, starting as a defensive quality control intern while also assisting the special teams coordinator and defensive assistant coaches. In 2009, he was promoted to a graduate assistant position assigned to the defense and special teams.
Clark graduated from Ole Miss in 2007 with a degree in banking and finance, and he worked briefly in private business before entering the coaching profession.