April 23, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Following the passing of Eugene "Torchy" Clark, who began the UCF men's basketball program in the late 1960s, several stories about the legendary head coach appeared in newspapers in Florida and his native Wisconsin. The articles all had a similar theme - Clark inspired every person that he met.
After starting the UCF program in 1969, Clark served as the Knights' head coach for 14 seasons. His squads went 274-89 as he built UCF into a national power on the Division II level.
Russ Salerno, who played on the first team in school history, succinctly summed up what Clark meant to him and his teammates in an Orlando Sentinel story that ran Thursday: "He was a super, high-energy coach who taught us about working hard and doing everything the right way."
Clark passed away Wednesday at age 80.
A viewing for Clark will be held Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the Borromeo Catholic Church, which is located on Edgewater Drive in Orlando. The funeral is set for 9 a.m. Saturday at the same church.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
Notes: On Thursday morning, former UCF star Bennie Shaw appeared on The Beat of Sports with Mike Bianchi and Marc Daniels on ESPN 1080 in Orlando to talk about Clark. Shaw, who was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this month. Shaw played for Clark from 1974-76. In Clark's high-paced offense, Shaw totaled 1,238 points in only two campaigns. He was selected by Milwaukee in the ninth round of the 1976 National Basketball Association Draft.
Some of the stories about Eugene "Torchy" Clark following his passing: