By Zach Carter
Usually an athletic director is an older person who has experience coaching high school sports. But when former AD Grant Zgunda left, Delta decided to go a different direction in their hiring decision. They went with 35 year old Tilmon Clark.
“Instead of looking at age, I guess I would prefer to look at years of experience,” Clark says. “‘My experiences in college football prepared me to work in the fast paced lifestyle of athletic administration.”
The Winchester native chose to apply for the position at DHS because it’s a “great place to work, has excellent athletic traditions, incredible facilities, and fantastic coaches.”
Clark attended Winchester Community High School and graduated in 2005. After graduating from Earlham College for business in 2009, Clark wanted to coach.
“My dad coached [football and baseball] at Winchester for 30-plus years, so I had a passion for it,” he said.
Clark was a three-sport athlete: baseball, football and wrestling. He went on to play baseball for Earlham College.
He began looking for coaching jobs for football. A spot opened up for a Secondary Coach and Running Backs Coach at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. After that, he worked at Valdosta State University in Georgia. He was the Graduate Assistant Linebacker Coach and helped with special teams. While at Valdosta State, Clark helped the team accomplish a great season.
“That was an extremely special season at Valdosta State,” he said. ‘“We started the season 2-2, and then rattled off 10 straight wins including the National Championship game. It was a total team effort and whenever you win a major championship, you always need the ball to bounce your way a few times, too.”
After Valdosta State, he worked for Ball State University as the Director of Football Operations (external) and was promoted to Director of Player Personnel. While at Ball State, Clark was hired to work for the Cleveland Browns for a winter. He evaluated draft prospects for them.
Then the AD job opened up at Monroe Central High School. Clark worked there for three years until being hired by DHS last spring.
One change that Clark has already made is enhancing the social media for athletics.
“I worked with social media at Ball State, and it is the way of the future,” he said. “‘It’s not going away, and it is a way that I like promoting our athletes and our school.”
One new idea that Clark is using at DHS is a book club for varsity coaches.
“This year’s book will be The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon,” he said. “This is an excellent opportunity for me and the coaches to continue to learn different ways to lead our student-athletes.”
Clark has a standard that he wants our athletes to follow.
“We have a motto here called ‘We Over Me’,” he said. “That is a simple term, but it packs a big punch. It means that our athletes and coaches are all in this together to make Delta athletics the best we can be.”
Clark already has made an impact with coaches.
Varsity boys’ basketball head coach Mark Detweiler says great things about Clark.
“He takes great pride in connecting to students and works hard to build relationships,” Detweiler said. “In his short time here, you can also see the work he puts in to promote Delta athletics.”