Calera's Ronnie Clark was awarded the USA Today Inspiration Award Feb. 18 for his success on the field, and overcoming challenges off it. The award is presented in conjunction with the National Guard. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)
Calera's Ronnie Clark was awarded the USA Today Inspiration Award Feb. 18 for his success on the field, and overcoming challenges off it. The award is presented in conjunction with the National Guard. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Archived Story

Clark honored by USA Today, National Guard

Published 9:47pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

CALERA— To say Calera’s Ronnie Clark is a great football player is akin to saying that Bear Bryant was a great coach; at this point, it’s an understatement.

Which is what makes the award he received Feb. 18 courtesy of USA Today and the National Guard so impressive; Clark received the award not just because of his outstanding feats on the gridiron, but also because of how he has handled challenges off it.

As a freshman, Clark was faced with becoming the head of his household when his father moved back to Louisiana to take a job to provide for the family. In his absence, Clark took care of his mother who has muscular dystrophy, in addition to caring for his grandmother who moved in as well.

Clark cooked, cleaned and maintained a house while caring for two other lives, going to school and doing homework, all the while excelling on the football field and basketball court.

Clark was presented the award in a ceremony held in Calera High’s auditorium by a representative of the Alabama National Guard, while head coach Wiley McKeller spoke of

“We’re all going to die one day,” he said. “We’re all going to have headstones, and they’re all going to have two dates: one’s when you’re born and one’s we die. What you’re really about is what happens in that dash. That’s what you’re going to be remembered for, and (Ronnie’s) has done quite a bit with his dash already.”

Clark said he was honored and humbled by the award.

“I’m speechless,” he told those in attendance. “Thank y’all for supporting me.”

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