On Wednesday, August 14, Valerie Clarke 2006 returned to Asheville School to speak to preseason student athletes. Clarke currently serves as the Head Field Hockey Coach at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Clarke came into Asheville School with experience playing ice hockey, and Coach Chapman Davis convinced her to give field hockey a try. Clarke says one of her best memories at Asheville School was playing field hockey for the first time: she fell in love with the sport, becoming an all-conference player and continuing to play in college.
“As a student here, I never realized the impact this place would have on me,” Clarke said. “After being at Asheville School, transitioning to college was easy. My ability to manage my time was far better than the other freshman athletes because of what I learned at Asheville School.”
After college, Clarke coached high school field hockey for University School of Milwaukee and Divine Savior Holy Angels High School. She then worked as head coach of the elite travel teams of the Milwaukee Field Hockey Club before joining Converse College.
Clarke says that as a coach, she models her style based on her experience at Asheville School by focusing on great sportsmanship as a key tenant of her program.
She encouraged the Blues to work hard and follow their passions in athletics. “There is a spot for everyone who wants to continue playing at the next level,” she said. “Believe in yourself and chase your dreams.”
Valerie Clarke’s family has been part of the Asheville School community for three generations. Both she and her sister, Lissa Clarke 2009 are graduates. Her father, Phil Clarke III 1966, is a former Chair of the Asheville School Board of Trustees and Trustee Emeritus. Her grandfather, Phil Clarke Jr., graduated in 1933. Two of his brothers also attended Asheville School.