SEC "Five Questions": UT's J.J. Clark > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC "Five Questions": UT's J.J. Clark

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee head coach J.J. Clark is in his 10th season in Knoxville, and his second as the Director of Track and Field, overseeing both the men’s and women’s programs. During his tenure, he has led his women to three Southeastern Conference titles entering the 2011 campaign.

    The Vols and Lady Vols open their 2011 season on Sept. 2, by traveling to Nashville, Tenn., to participate in the Belmont-VU Opener.

    With the start of the season just around the corner, Clark sat down with the SEC Digital Network on Thursday to discuss the upcoming campaign.

    SEC Digital Network: This is your first season directly coaching both the men’s and women’s distance programs. How are things going so far?

    JJ Clark: “At this point, all I have done is give workouts over the summer. We haven’t had an official practice, but I like it and I have enjoyed corresponding with the team. Everybody is positive and excited about the upcoming year. I see a lot of enthusiasm and commitment from our team.”

    SEC Digital Network: What is your outlook for both your men’s and women’s teams this season?

    JJ Clark: “We’re not as strong as we want to be, but it’s a good starting point on the men’s side. Our women have won three championships since I’ve been here, so we certainly want to get back to that. We just have to buckle in and see if we can get some surprises from some of our talented young ladies. On the men’s side, we’ve been making the transition. It’s a young team with a lot of freshmen, but when you have that, anything is possible.”

    SEC Digital Network: What does your schedule look like this year and why have you set it up the way you did?

    JJ Clark: “Typically every year, we start out with a meet just to break the ice. It’s less than the SEC meet distance and gives us an opportunity to just kind of get our feet wet. It’s a meet not far from home and is always a great fit for us to start with. We then host a home meet that will be good experience because we host the SEC meet this year. We’re participating in the Paul Short Run in Pennsylvania and it is a great course. I went to Villanova and the NCAA meet was there in 1984 and it’s a really good course. The idea was to increase competition as we go and see what we’re able to get done.”

    SEC Digital Network: How much are you looking forward to hosting the SEC Championships and what’s the benefit of being able to run at home?

    JJ Clark: “It’s good that we will be able to have our entire men’s and women’s teams here cheering for each other as one. We know the course well and we’ve got some great young athletes. We’re looking forward to running at home for the SEC meet.”

    SEC Digital Network: Now in your third year as Director of Track and Field, overseeing both men’s and women’s programs, how is the progress going, specifically with cross country?

    JJ Clark: “My goal is always to win championships. To do that, I always work to maximize all of our athletes’ abilities. I didn’t coach the men last year, but I’m really excited about what we can do this year. Cross country has always been one of my favorite events in the sport. We want our athletes to race to their potential and see where we come out as a team.”

    Sept. 2: at Belmont-VU Opener
    Sept. 17: Tennessee Invitational
    Sept. 30: at Brooks Paul Short Run
    Oct. 15: at Crimson Classic
    Oct. 31: SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.)
    Nov. 12: at NCAA South Regional (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
    Nov. 21: at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.)