After 10 months as Clark’s interim Athletics Director, Chris Jacob was appointed Clark’s official Athletics Director on July 12.
As Jacob transitions, Clark student athletes have continued to meet a high standard of success, finishing several seasons with playoff berths in the NWAC tournament.
Head coach of Clark’s baseball team Mark Magdaleno had nothing but praise for the newest addition to the sports staff.
“It’s pretty recognizable to me and to my teammates on the coaching staff that we are dealing with a star,” Magdaleno said. “He communicates well and he makes decisions quickly based on fact and logic, so when you work with someone like that and combine that with the fact that he’s honest and has a great work ethic, it’s a big win for Clark College, our coaches and our athletes.”
A native of Naples, Florida, Jacob graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. During his time at NSU, Jacob ran cross country for the Nova Sharks while working as a student assistant in the athletic department.
During his final year of school, Jacob decided to try out for Interim Athletics Academic Advisor. In this position he tracked student academic engagement and helped student athletes maintain a certain grade point average.
As Interim Athletics Academic Advisor, Jacob worked under Ann Walker, the assistant athletic director at the time. Jacob said that Walker’s tutelage, along with running and assisting athlete’s academics was a big influence on his his career decision. After moving to Vancouver, Jacob began working under Walker again at Clark in 2015.
“There are no failures, you have mistakes,” Jacob said of the hurdles he and many other student athletes often face “There will always be bumps and bruises; without those bumps and bruises in the past, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
Over the course of last year, Jacob said Clark athletes have continually increased their success in academics with the help of sports faculty and staff. Magdaleno said that earlier this year with help from Jacob, 71 players on Clark’s baseball team made the honor roll.
Jacob said he is helping create an academics first, sports second mentality. Currently the cumulative GPA of Clarks athletes is a 2.8, Though Jacob said he is working to establish an average GPA of a 3.0.
Jacob credits the success to department cohesion and a coaching staff dedicated to helping students succeed outside of sports. He said that between him and the coaching staff, they’ve come to realize that their real goal is to help students reach their next step whether they do so through academics or sports.
“If we can move them to the next level university, whatever they desire, that’s a success in our coaches minds too,” Jacob said. “We don’t like losing, but If we can move them onto university where they can [get] better educated, where they can help our society more, then we did our job.”