OLD TOWN, Maine — Nat Clark, who a week ago was hired as the new head football coach and physical education teacher at Old Town High School, has opted not to accept those positions.
Clark, who had yet to sign a contract after being approved for the jobs by the RSU 34 board of directors last Wednesday evening, notified Old Town High School principal Scott Gordon of his decision Monday afternoon.
“Honestly, I just had a change of heart,” said Clark, who now plans to remain a physical education teacher and coach at Bangor High School. “The students at Old Town High School deserve someone who will commit totally to them and to building a strong program up there. After a few days I realized that it wasn’t me.”
Clark met with prospective Old Town football players last Friday, then mulled his decision over the weekend before contacting Gordon.
“I sincerely apologize to the students at Old Town High School,” said Clark. “I realize my decision may have caused some confusion, but the students were great.
“This decision wasn’t about the students, it was about me.”
The 35-year-old Clark was set to replace Steve Calande, who resigned in April after two seasons at Old Town and subsequently took a job as a physical education teacher and head football coach at East Catholic High School in Manchester, Conn.
Calande guided Old Town to a 6-3 record in the LTC Class C ranks in 2010, the program’s first winning season since 1997. The Coyotes went 2-6 last fall after moving back up to the Pine Tree Conference Class B ranks.
Clark, a 1995 Bangor High School graduate and former football player at the University of Maine, began his coaching career at Bangor in 2000.
After two years at his alma mater, Clark joined former Bangor coach Gabby Price in restarting the Husson University football program beginning in 2002. He remained at Husson as both an assistant coach and assistant athletic director for student wellness through 2008.
Clark spent the last three football seasons coaching back at Bangor, where last fall he coached the offensive line and linebackers under current Rams’ head coach Mark Hackett. He also coaches the school’s girls junior varsity basketball team.
Clark has taught physical education at Bangor High School for the last two years after one year in the same capacity at the William S. Cohen School in Bangor.
“Nat got here, met with the kids, and then spent time over the weekend doing some soul searching and realized that this wasn’t what he wanted to do,” said Gordon. “It’s probably better that it happened now rather than a year from now and then we’d have to do another search.”
Gordon said he has contacted another candidate for the open football coaching and teaching positions at Old Town and is “giving him a couple of days to make a decision.”
“If that doesn’t work out we may have to open up a new search,” he said.