Hometown: Springfield, MA (Classical)
Position: C-F Playing Height: 6-9 Playing Weight: 185
Date of Birth: March 20, 1933
Date of Death: August 18, 2005
Additional Photos: (1) (2) (3)
Game by Game Statistics
Kentucky Career Notes:
Transferred to Springfield College (MA)
Obituary - Ronald J. Clark, Hartford Courant (September 11, 2005)
Ronald J. Clark, 72, of Somers, passed away at home on Thursday, (August 18, 2005), after a long illness.
Ron was born on March 20, 1933, in New York City, NY, and was the son of the late George A. Clark and Anna M. Clark. His formative years were spent in NYC, Toronto, and then Springfield, MA. In his early years, Ron achieved local basketball fame in Springfield, MA beginning to play in 1949 at Classical High School for the Bulldogs in his junior year. He secured a place for a time in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for most points scored in a high school basketball game.
After graduation from Classical in 1951, Ron received a scholarship to the University of Kentucky, made the Dean's List, and played basketball for their 1951-1952 season. During the exiled Kentucky 1952-1953 season, Ron continued to practice with teammates and play scrimmage games. He then transferred to American International College in Springfield, MA, with intentions to pursue pre-dental coursework, and was offered the position as Manager of basketball team (fall 53-Dec 54). In December, 1954, he competed in the first Marine Corps Christmas Collegiate Basketball Tourney held in Quantico, VA representing Springfield College on the All-Star Team. He began playing ball for the Springfield Maroons in January, 1955. While playing the position of center at Springfield College, he was named to the All-Western Mass squad and was known as one of the highest scorers in New England at that time. For the 1955-1956 season, he was named Team Captain. At 6 foot 9 inches, he was the tallest player at the time to play for Springfield. He was highlighted in Collier's Magazine in 1956 at one of the top players in the country. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Springfield College.
In 1956 as the first player in history from Western Massachusetts to be drafted into the National Basketball Association, he was chosen by the Philadelphia Warriors. His contract was then immediately purchased by the St. Louis Hawks. He also received several other offers form NBA teams.
Upon recommendation by his Springfield College, Coach John Bunn, he was offered a position with the Olympia Borletti-Simmenthal-Team of Milan, Italy (Italian National Basketball Team). He wished to maintain amateur status and accepted the offer and traveled to Italy in August, 1956. He was on the team until 1959, which enabled him to tour Europe with competing. The Simmenthal team won several European Championships during his contract period. He was referred to in the Milan press as "il gigante" (the giant) and "la scala" (the stairs or, the Ladder).
In the early 1960's, Ron was a civilian attached to the U.S. Navy and assisted in training Navy personnel (UDT) in scuba diving techniques in New London. He received his Master of Arts in Education from the University of Massachusetts. Ron taught English and Physical Education in the public middle and high schools for over 30 years. He taught first at a private school in Massachusetts for a year, then at Hazardville Memorial in Enfield. From 1964 through 1967, he taught at Kosciuszko Middle School, in Enfield. Most of his teaching career was spent at East Granby High School (and Middle School) in East Granby, where he began teaching in September of 1967. Ron taught English and Physical Education and specialized courses such as mythology and public speaking. In his many years there, he enjoyed coaching girls gymnastics and girls basketball, helping with theater productions, and being a Yearbook Advisor. He retired from the East Granby school system in September of 1990. After retirement, he briefly taught English at Somers Correctional facility, and did substitute teaching in Somers and Ellington.
He enjoyed scuba diving, swimming, croquet, billiards, pool, tennis and chess. He loved the ocean in all its prowess and precision and impressed many with his mental acumen. Ron's sense of humor is and has been his greatest gift to his family and friends.
Ron will dearly be missed by his wife, Karen, and his step-daughter, Jennifer Himes Macionus and her husband, Michael Macionus of Tolland; brother-in-law, David N. Drake of Somers, Peter Loin of Willington husband of Ron's late cousin, Linnea Loin; cousins, Kirk Skinner and his wife, Holly of Montana, Nikki Linquist of California and Candace Camp of Washington; and many other Clark and Smith cousins. Ron was predeceased by a cousin Wendy Correll of California.
Friends and relatives are invited to celebrate Ron's life with the family on Saturday, September 17, from 9:30- 11:30 a.m. at the Somers Funeral Home, 354 Main St., Route 190 Somers. A memorial service will follow at 11:30 a.m. at the Somers Funeral Home. The burial will be private. Memorial donations in Ron's memory may be made to Visiting Nurse & Health Services of Connecticut, Inc., 8 Key Note Dr., Vernon, CT 06066, or to the American Lung Association, 45 Ash St., East Hartford, CT 06108-3272. For online condolences please visit our website www.somersfuneralhome.com