Dave Clark

Detroit third base coach Dave Clark, the former Shannon standout, has been with the Tigers since 2014.

ARLINGTON, Texas Dave Clark brings so much energy and passion to coaching third base in Detroit that it’s virtually impossible to not follow his lead.

“The most animated third base coach I’ve ever seen. I can’t keep up with him,” Tigers second-year manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s waving his arms around and he’s got all kinds of stuff going on. He’s entertaining. I watch him and start laughing. He’s really into it. He’s an emotional guy. We give him a lot of grief in the dugout to see him get mad, but he’s a worker. He gets after it.”

Clark, 56, is in his sixth season with Detroit and second under Gardenhire, and the former Shannon standout – who previously worked in the Houston organization following a 13-year playing career – knows his enthusiasm and energy stem from his ongoing love and passion for baseball.

“I always say that if I was coaching, I’d rather be at third base. It’s so close to the game, it’s like playing again,” he said. “I’ve always believed the energy I show will somehow correlate with the players. They’ll get it. They can feed off that. My style is pretty aggressive. When a guy gets on, I want to do everything I can to score him. Guys feed off that.”

He and Gardenhire, who previously managed Minnesota for 14 seasons, didn’t know each other before the veteran skipper asked him to join his coaching staff before last season, but it’s a partnership which has worked well.

“Well, I knew him from just being on the other side. I’m sure he probably watched me coach third and do other things,” Clark said. “I was happy that he wanted me on his staff.”

Going back, giving back

In the offseason, Clark and his wife call Collierville, Tennessee, their home. However, they return to the Tupelo area once or twice a month to see family in the area and get a home-cooked meal.

And baseball isn’t his only passion. He also makes giving back to the community a high priority. One way he does this is through the Clark-Enis Family Foundation, an organization he helped found after the 2014 Tupelo tornado.

“We try to give back to the community, host a golf tournament every year. We haven’t hosted it for the last two years,” Clark said. “We’re going to get back at it this year or next year, but it’s home. I love giving back to local charities there.”

Stephen Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.

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