Bernard Clark Jr. was announced as the third head coach in the history of Robert Morris University football by RMU Director of Athletics Craig Coleman, M.D., on December 19, 2017. Most recently, Clark served as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at the University of Albany, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
“We are very excited to begin the next chapter of RMU football with Coach Clark leading the way. He has proven to be an excellent coach over the years, and more importantly, an exceptional molder of young men. Our current and future student-athletes will benefit greatly from his leadership,” said Coleman.
Clark, a former linebacker for the National Football League’s (NFL) Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks, spent four seasons with the Albany Great Danes. After serving as assistant head coach and linebackers coach in 2014, Clark was elevated to the position of associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for 2015.
“I’m very excited, and just a little bit nervous, about this opportunity to be a head coach for the first time,” said Clark. “But, mostly I’m excited. I look forward to working with the young men at Robert Morris and helping them grow in more ways than just as football players.”
Clark’s defense ranked ninth in FCS in 2017 holding opponents to just 282.1 yards per game. That number was bolstered by the country’s 15th-best rushing defense (107.0) and 20th-best passing defense (175.1). The Great Danes allowed just 17.7 points per game, a number that placed them 17th on a national level. Led by Clark, the Albany defense finished in the top-20 of eight different national stats categories in 2017 while three players earned All-CAA honors for the Danes defense.
“We’re close friends, and we’ve been doing this together a long time,” said UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso. “He’s a talented coach and definitely ready to be a head coach. I’m excited for him that he’s getting this opportunity. He’s going to do a great job at Robert Morris.”
In 2016, Clark's defense ranked first in the CAA with a +1.45 turnover margin and 32 total forced turnovers, leading to just 18.8 points allowed per game for second in the league. Three Albany defensive players earned All-CAA honors, including Michael Nicastro on the First Team with 126 total tackles and three recovered fumbles, each top-four in all of FCS.
In his first season at Albany, Clark's defense led the nation in turnover margin (1.25) as well as fumble recoveries (20), while linebacker Michael Nicastro earned Third Team All-CAA honors.
As a player, Clark won two National Championships with the Miami Hurricanes and was named the 1987 Orange Bowl MVP. Earning a Bachelor of Business Administration, Clark went on to play three seasons in the NFL and two in the Arena Football League (AFL) before entering the coaching world.
Clark began his collegiate coaching career at James Madison University, where he trained the defensive ends for two seasons (1998-99). He then moved to Liberty University, serving as linebackers coach and oversaw special teams from 2000-03.
Clark had two stints at Florida International University (FIU), initially serving as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He then spent a year in the Big East Conference at the University of South Florida, coaching the Bulls' defensive line in 2006, as they made an appearance in the PapaJohns.com Bowl Game. Clark returned to FIU for the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
In 2009, Clark served as Hampton University's defensive coordinator before leaving to become Pitt's linebackers coach in 2010. The Panthers' defense finished in the top-10 of the FBS that season. Clark spent the 2011 season as the linebackers coach at Colorado State before returning to Hampton for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.