Kevin Skillett recognizes the contrast in experience separating his first two hires as Bettendorf athletic director-in-waiting. Yet he’s equally thrilled with each of the decisions — a couple of guys with local ties.
The time of transition for Bettendorf basketball officially began Monday night when Curtis Clark and Pat Finn were approved by the board of education to lead the Bulldogs’ boys and girls basketball teams, respectively, starting with the 2012-13 season.
Clark replaces his tutor, Skillett, after spending the past six seasons at the freshman and sophomore levels, while Finn takes over for Scott Lammers, who resigned in February, a little more than three years following the end of his four-year stint with Davenport Assumption boys basketball.
“In my mind, it’s one of the best jobs in the state of Iowa,” Clark said. “This probably happened a little sooner than I thought it would happen, but with (Skillett) being my boss now and my mentor, I don’t think there’s a better opportunity.”
An all-state forward from Maquoketa who played for Hall of Fame coach Bill Fleming, Clark spent three years at St. Ambrose, averaging 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 106 career games. His 63.8 shooting percentage in 2001-02 is a single-season school record.
“We really feel even though he doesn’t have any head varsity coaching experience, he’s been in good systems as a high school player, and the experiences he’s earned have developed him,” Skillett said. “We certainly think he can bring this program to new heights.”
Clark, 31, will get to coach against Davenport Assumption head man Joe Barrer, a Fighting Bees teammate for two seasons.
Clark will continue working as a physical education teacher in the district, primarily at Mark Twain Elementary School.
The Bettendorf boys (15-8 in 2011-12) look to build around junior-to-be guard Cole Clearman, the Mississippi Athletic Conference’s fourth-leading scorer last winter.
Finn, 51, brings a dozen years of head-coaching experience, most recently as Barrer’s predecessor with the Assumption boys (2005-09). The Knights went 47-47 under Finn, including a trip to the 2008 Class 3A state tournament.
“I think Pat is a great hire for us. He brings a lot of experience — he’s on the other side (from Clark), he’s coached for several years in multiple levels,” Skillett said. “He understands what it takes from a commitment level to win in this league.”
Finn’s oldest daughter, Morgan, and sons Sean and Peter played basketball for the Knights. His daughter, Liz, will be a junior at Bettendorf next year.
The Bulldogs (13-10) also return second-team all-MAC selections Katie Moore and Miranda Holle, who along with Liz Finn comprise the team’s top three scorers last season.
“I like what Bettendorf has done in terms of promoting the multi-sport athlete even though it’s a bigger school,” said Pat Finn, who is extremely involved with youth programs. “The coaches get along pretty well and support that concept, which is one of the reasons I was very interested in working at Bettendorf.”
This is Finn’s first head-coaching girls position, though he was a Davenport West assistant in the early 2000s.