SPRINGDALE (KFSM) - When Springdale athletic director Wayne Stehlik started his search for a new Bulldogs football coach, he got calls from all across the region.
But the one that mattered was just a few miles away.
Stehlik said that Zak Clark made the first call about the opening and ultimately it was Clark that was tabbed to be the next Springdale coach.
Clark spent the past five seasons as offensive coordinator at Fayetteville, his alma mater, but coached at Springdale to start his career.
"There’s been a special place in my heart for Springdale," Clark said. "Growing up it was such a big rival. That was so neat and then coaching here and getting to be on the other side. It’s just a special place."
Clark led Fayetteville's offense to the 7A title game in four of the five seasons with the Purle Dogs and it's that success that helped Stehlik make his decision.
"We’re excited about the fact that he knows our league so he’s had game plans against these other schools," Stehlik said. "The implementation of game plans against Bentonville, Fayetteville, Har-Ber, Rogers, Heritage will be a little bit easier for these teams because he already has the game plan established from his other experiences."
Springdale is coming off their first winless season since 1916 but Clark said that he knows there is talent on campus to help turn things around.
"I think it’s here or I wouldn’t be standing here right now," Clark said. "I wouldn’t have been interested in that job. I know the structure that is in place. I know the people at the middle schools and elementary. They are going to do anything they can to make these kids successful."
Clark was a successful high school quarterback at Fayetteville and then threw for an even 1,000 yards as a freshman at the University of Arkansas. Clark then transferred to UCA where he was named an all-American in 2002 and a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded to the best divison-II player in the country.
"I've take a little bit from everybody that I played or coached for," Clark said. "I'm proud of who I played for and who I coached for and I've learned a lot from them."