The Port Allen volleyball program has an old face in a new role as the interim head coach.
However, this new role didn’t require her to relinquish her old role as the assistant principal of instruction at the school.
Thanks to an iron-clad plan and the power of persuasion, Del-Timoko Clark acquired the interim tag on a trial basis.
The road to being named coach wasn’t an easy one, according to Clark. The biggest roadblock standing in her way was her boss, Port Allen principal James Jackson.
“When I first told him (Jackson) about what I was thinking, he wasn’t having it,” Clark said with a smile. “I had to come up with this extensive plan to show that I would be able to do both jobs. It was stressful. My interview was probably about an hour and a half.”
Port Allen had begun advertising the position following Robyn Butler’s resignation earlier in the summer.
Clark was a volleyball player at Southern Lab and a coach in Texas and at Booker T. Washington in Shreveport. She also had two daughters who played volleyball at the collegiate level. She said after reviewing the applications for the position, she decided to throw her hat in the ring.
“I jumped into it think there’s a need and I want to help these girls,” she said. “When Mr. Jackson asked for a detailed plan and was kind of against it at first, it got kind of scary. “When you have a love for a sport and the kids and you want to see them reach their potential, it’s what you do.”
Jackson said Clark’s initial role was to be part of the interview committee for the job, but that quickly changed.
“My initial response was absolutely not,” he recalled. “She wouldn’t let up… She submitted a plan and we couldn’t deny that she was the best candidate. We just wanted to make sure that if she took the coaching job, it wouldn’t affect the academics. That’s what’s most important to all of us. That’s the only reason she has the interim title for this year.”
Immediately after earning the job, Clark and the Lady Pelicans got to work early this summer. She held tryouts that produced a big turnout with 30 players making the team and 24 participating in the Northeast Summer League.
Clark said focused on technical aspects of the sport. She recorded the summer league games so the players were able to go back and correct mistakes.
The changes didn’t stop there.
“We needed to do summer workouts and it was about developing proper eating habits,” Clark said. “What you eat is important. It was also about character development. Having the grit to be able to persevere. Goal-setting was also something we are focusing on.”
Port Allen competed each Thursday in June at Northeast. Clark said her team displayed improvement, which produced excitement.
“Participating in the Northeast Summer League, I can see growth in the kids,” she said. “They can see it, too. They’re excited and that’s the best part.”
Clark admitted she had to make some decisions to organize her time better in order to flourish in both roles.
“It’s a learning curve,” she said. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity. I pray that the community rallies around us as we try to get better every day.”