HALIFAX Being in the right place at the right time often presents individuals with great life experiences.
Jen Clarke, a former member of the Springhill High School Golden Eagles girls basketball program is one of those individuals.
Not only did she have a stellar career at her alma matre, she has moved into the coaching ranks, culminating with her role as head coach of the Basketball Nova Scotia Under 15 boys development program this summer.
I became involved with Basketball Nova Scotia last summer when I was asked to be the assistant coach for the U-15 boys provincial development team, Clarke said.
However, due to family emergencies, the head coach stepped aside and I took on the team. We had a great season, she added.
The U-15 boys had a second local flavour as Clarke was able to mentor Pugwash point guard Jordan McAulay throughout the summer season.
Clarke started coaching in Halifax immediately following graduation from Acadia University in 2004. She started with a Division I midget girls team with the Bedford Eagles organization and have coached them for the past two winters, earning silver at provincials both years.
This past winter I took my girls team to an international tournament in Montreal in February and we won gold there. When I started back with Bedford in the fall I also kept working with Basketball Nova Scotia as I was one of three coaches for the Regional Development Program for BNS in the metro area, she said.
In April of this year I was named to the coaching staff of the U-15 Boys provincial team (with Paul Mansfield). The summer was a huge time commitment, but an unreal experience. The squad practised twice on Saturday, twice on Sunday: everyday all summer, and Thursday nights.
The team travelled to several tournaments including a seventh place finish at the Under 15 championships in Sherbrooke, Que., in August. In addition, the team traveled to a tournament in Boston (3-2), the Loyalist Summer Fest in Saint John, N.B. (3-0 and captured gold), and hosted the Bluenose Classic in Halifax (gold).
I am very anxious for the upcoming season to kick off. I was asked by the Cole Harbour organization to come take over the head coaching role for their Division 1 midget boys team and have accepted, she said.
So I will be leaving the Bedford organization. I will continue working with BNS and the regional development program and will continue with provincial teams for many summers to come.
Clarke said she absolutely loves coaching because its great to be able to put back into a game that gave her so much.
It is a lot of work, but well worth it.