Joe Clark
The longest-serving cross country coach in Lakes High School history, Joe Clark is the recipient of the 2022 Frosty Westering Coaching Excellence Award from the Tacoma Athletic Commission.
Born August 10, 1958, in Enumclaw, Clark graduated from Issaquah High School in 1976. While in the Army, Clark started racing and discovered a passion for cross country and track and field that would prove to be a turning point in his life.
After going back to college at Bellevue Community College in 1985, he turned out for the track team and placed fifth in the steeplechase at the NWAAACC Track Championships. He graduated from University of Washington in 1989 and began his coaching career as an assistant at Mann Junior High from 1992-94.
In 1994, he shifted over to Lakes as the head boys’ cross country coach, a position he has held for almost 30 years. He took over the girls’ team as well in 2000, and he has also been head girls’ track coach since 2004. He owns a 149-47 combined record in cross country league competition, with four district titles and 10 Athletes of the Year – seven boys and three girls.
Clark has coached 15 teams in the state cross country meet, plus an additional 20 individual qualifiers. His athletes have reached the podium several times in both cross country and track, including multiple track state champions in both running and field events. His teams have won 13 cross country league championships and one girls’ track league championship, and he has been voted league coach of the year 13 times in cross country and once in track.
Among all those achievements, Clark has also coached 263 Academic All-League honorees. Two of his runners have gone on to compete as professionals – Joe Gray and Izaic Yorks, who was a high school and collegiate All-American. Both competed in multiple Olympic Trials. Clark has also been the president of the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association for 16 years, and he is the founder of the Fort Steilacoom Invitation, one of the largest cross country meets in the Northwest, and a founding member of the Westside Classic District 3/4 organizing committee.
2022 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients