DSU to honor Hall of Famer Lloyd Clark

Hall of Famer Lloyd Clark will have a basketball court named for him.
Hall of Famer Lloyd Clark will have a basketball court named for him.

– Former Delta State University head women’s basketball coach and Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Lloyd Clark will be honored Saturday, Jan. 10, as the Department of Athletics officially names the court at Walter Sillers Coliseum in his honor. The dedication ceremony will be held between games Saturday, as DSU hosts Lee University beginning at 2 p.m.

In 2006, Clark was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, an honor most deserving for the winningest coach in Lady Statesmen basketball history. Clark joined Margaret Wade and Lusia Harris-Stewart in the Hall.
“It was time to honor the legacy of coach Clark to our women’s basketball program and to our university for his great successes during 19 amazing seasons as head coach,” director of athletics Ronnie Mayers said. “Lloyd Clark Court at Walter Sillers Coliseum will forever be the home of Lady Statesmen and Statesmen basketball.”

All former Lady Statesmen players are invited back for the event, including a luncheon in coach Clark’s honor on Saturday at noon inside the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni House.

Clark, a native of Drew, Mississippi, was no stranger to Delta State when he took the reigns of the Lady Statesmen program in 1983. Clark received his bachelor’s degree in Social Science in 1970 and later earned his Master’s in Education in 1977.

The storied program in 1982-83 (13-16) had suffered its first losing season since reinstatement. The administration knew exactly where to turn to and that was Vicksburg and Warren Central High School. Coach Clark had made quite a name for himself at the school, compiling an overall record of 245-42 in eight seasons.

The team that went 13-16 the year before, quickly rebounded and ended the 1983-84 season with a 20-8 record at the Division I level. Clark’s mark was easily seen on the team. Defense, tenacious ball-control offense, and smart play highlighted the team. These would become traits his teams were known for.

Over the next 19 seasons, his teams would compile one of the best records in women’s basketball history (494-98) and solidify his name as one of the all-time greats in college basketball coaching. He currently is the Lady Statesmen’s all-time winningest coach, having put together five 30-win seasons, and 11 20-win seasons.

Clark became the sixth coach in the program’s history on July 1, 1983. The program was then in NCAA Division I but was beginning to make the transition to the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II. In his two years against Division I competition, the Lady Statesmen posted an impressive 39-15 record. After the move to Division II, the Lady Statesmen claimed five straight GSC titles, and amassed a record of 70-4 during the first four years.

His 1988-89, 1989-90, and 1991-92 teams claimed the NCAA Division II National Championship. The Lady Statesmen came very close to repeating the feat Margaret Wade’s clubs had done during the 1970’s, but fell a little short in the 1990-91 season.

During his 19 years at the helm, Clark guided teams to the NCAA tournament 16 times. Eleven of those years DSU advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. In those 16 appearances, the Lady Statesmen compiled a 39-14 (.736) record.

Clark’s record in the Gulf South Conference is just as impressive. Over his career, DSU amassed a record of 206-38 (.845) in Gulf South Conference play. The GSC recognized his excellence as a coach, awarding him the Coach of the Year honor five times. He has also won numerous NCAA Region Coach of the Year honors as well.

Walter Sillers Coliseum was one of the most feared venues in America under his watch. In 19 seasons, the Lady Statesmen dominated play in Sillers going an amazing 264-22 (.923). DSU also became the first school in NCAA history to win a National title on its home floor.

Clark was also a noted history instructor during his time at Delta State University. “I have truly enjoyed my retirement, but I would be wrong if I didn’t say I missed being around the kids.” Clark added, “It’s much easier getting up in the morning and not having to worry about that next team, or reviewing your performance from the night before.”

Clark is married to the former Babs Walker of Drew, Mississippi. They have two sons, Scottie and Brady, both DSU graduates, and four grandchildren, Walker, Will, Conner and Katelyn. The Clarks currently reside in Vicksburg.

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