Arnie Clark grew up in post- World War America in the 1950s and, like most boys of his era, he gravitated to sports to fill the empty hours. Ad hoc games of football on an open field in the Fall, basketball as soon as frost showed itself, and then baseball when winter gave way to a higher sun. As Arnie grew and entered junior high school, his prowess on the athletic field was evident to local fans. His size and hand eye coordination made him particularly skilled at basketball, but he could absolutely pound a baseball.
As he grew into his 6’3” frame, Arnie became a cornerstone for his Calais Blue Devils, reckoning havoc on Down East schools. For unfamiliar basketball enthusiasts, the rivalry between Calais and Woodland in the days of the thriving paper mills was more blood sport than athletic competition. The good people of Down East were treated to Arnie’s dominance during his playing days to Calais’ benefit. The love of sport form this young man’s future in basketball; and that love would remain with him the rest of his life.
After graduating, Arnie decided to stay close to home at Univ. of Maine at Machias. If anything, Arnie’s game got better and more dominant. He started all four seasons for the Clippers, and led his team in scoring and rebounding each year. His sophomore season, Arnie averaged 30 points per game along with 18 rebounds! He was captain his senior year and left U.M.M. as one of their career leaders in both categories.
Armed with a teaching degree, Arnie immediately started his coaching career at his alma mater and stayed for the next fourteen years. His Calais boys’ team won two Eastern Maine Class C Championships and then he guided the Woodland Dragons girls’ team to five State Championships over sixteen seasons.
Arnie was a passionate coach, intense and demanding, but loved by his players. Opposing teams knew they were in for a long night regardless of his teams’ talent level, because his players, both boys and girls, were tough, aggressive, and fought until the final buzzer.
The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame welcomes this giant of a man into the fold; it is a great testament to a life of athletic service to young people. Big man, big heart.
Arnie passed away in August of 2018.