Clark (left), dons his coaching headset and watches as Team Canada plays against Ireland in the first game of the five nations tournament in Malaga, Spain.
The off-field pieces continue to come together for the Men’s National Team as South African Field Hockey great, Gregg Clark is appointed assistant coach. Paul Bundy’s head coaching appointment was announced in November and now he is surrounding the team with experts in the field as they march towards the World Cup in the fall.
As a player, Clark went to two Olympic Games, two World Cups, and two Commonwealth Games during his 11-year career with the South African Men’s National Team. His 250 caps for South Africa still stands as the most by any South African player in history. He adds to that an immense coaching career spanning the last 10 years including experience with top international sides and club teams. He coached South Africa’s Men’s National Team from 2007-2012 including two Olympic Games, a World Cup and a Commonwealth Games. He also coached the Ranchi Rhinos to a Hockey India League Championship in 2013.
Clark has recent experience with the Canadian national team, hopping on board last year to assist Bundy with the squad at World League Round 3 and the Pan American Cup. His experience with the team motivated him to stay involved and continue to contribute.
“The team’s performances and results in World League Round 3 last year were evidence with the right amount of focus, dedication and application this team is bound for bigger and better things,” Clark said.
Head Coach Paul Bundy believes that the team can benefit greatly from having an experienced hockey mind around them at events and during competition. He said he has a successful track record as a coach and player and will bring a lot of value to the team.
“Gregg understands the team culture and he provides great support to the team and staff,” Bundy said. “…and as an out-of-town coach, living in Cape Town, he comes with a fresh view and will be able to watch the team grow from a different perspective.”
As Bundy said, Clark will be living in Cape Town, South Africa and joining the team on tours and at events throughout the year. As a result, Bundy said, he won’t see the incremental gains from the day-to-day training environment but rather sees the major changes and how they are implemented in competition. Matt Sarmento, a veteran forward on the Canadian Men’s National Team, echoed Bundy’s sentiments regarding Clark’s value to the team.
“He’s such a well-respected guy in the global field hockey community. He brings that fresh perspective when he works with us at events. It’s nice to have a different voice contributing,” Sarmento said.
Clark is with the team right now in Malaga, Spain and said that he is looking forward to all the competition the team has upcoming this year. He thinks the team can continue to build off of the positive results from last year and move towards the World Cup with confidence.