CaShan Clark's first love was football. It's the sport that ultimately carried him to Oklahoma State University to play as a defensive back for then-head coach Bob Simmons.
At the time of his signing, Simmons also referred to Clark as a "track guy" and boasted about his speed.
"I'm trying to remember the last time that we recruited guys that were supposed to have that kind of speed," Simmons said during an OSU press conference following signing day in 2000.
Clark also loves his wife, Karrie, as well as their three kids — Tiatan, Tavian and Khloe. He even calls himself a coach's husband and cannot begin to speak of his career without first praising the misses.
“My wife will tell you that I’m crazy because she doesn’t know when the last time I slept was, but she keeps me going,” Clark said. “She makes sure that I pack a lunch and checks to make sure that I have my laptop and backpack. It’s been good to have her with me. I’m a coaches husband first because she was coaching before I was. She really helps get me going and to get me in the right place.”
It's also because of Karrie's encouragement that Clark decided to make the career jump from a nine-year stint in law enforcement to coaching, where he has been for the past three years.
Joining a football staff was an obvious fit; after all, he did have experience playing for a Division I program.
The career change also allowed for Clark to reunite with a love that began around the second or third grade — soccer.
Israel Stephens, the head boys’ soccer coach in Alvarado, and Clark have been best friends since they were eight years old. The two then began playing soccer together about two years later and since then “it has been a whirlwind.”
Clark played club soccer and even had a few scholarship offers to continue his career on the pitch, only to ultimately decide on football at OSU.
“But soccer has always been a passion of mine,” he said. “The first time I ever left the state of Texas was to play in a soccer tournament. It was the neatest thing in the world to me. Coach Stephens in Alvarado, he isn’t only my best friend, but he is my mentor.”
Following a win Saturday in the 4A Region II tournament that advanced the Midlothian Heritage boys' soccer team to its first-ever state tournament, Clark also made sure to thank two other current coaches for their contributions to his, and the Jaguars, successes — Joe Baffa and Gerald Slovacek.
Baffa currently serves as the head boys’ soccer coach at Arlington Seguin. He is also responsible for foster the love for soccer in Clark and Stephens, as he coached the tandem in club and then high school.
And then there is Slovacek, the head girls' soccer coach at Midlothian Heritage. Slovacek guided the Jaguars to the first-ever state championship in Midlothian ISD history in 2018. He has been a cheerleader of both boys' and girls' soccer programs throughout his tenure.
“Xs and Os, I know," Clark said. "Kids, well I do a bunch of yelling. But coach Slov keeps me level. People can say what they want about coach Slov not being this kind of soccer coach or that kind or whatever, but he is on the sideline at every playoff game, and he is that guy that when I turn around, he and my assistant coach, coach Brian Moss, they are the guys that keep this thing going. To have him there and he has the experience is amazing.”
Slovacek was even waiting for Clark at the fieldhouse Sunday morning to help with state tournament itineraries and travel plans to Georgetown, too.