A new era is set to begin with the University of Victoria Vikes, as Dr. Nick Clarke has been appointed into the new position of Director, Varsity Performance Sport.
“We welcome Dr. Clarke to this important role. An accomplished student-athlete, academic and applied performance sport leader, he is uniquely qualified to continue UVic’s national leadership in post-secondary athletics and help ensure our Vikes student-athletes achieve athletic excellence in a safe and inclusive training and competitive environment,” said Jim Dunsdon, Associate Vice-President Student Affairs.
“It is an unbelievable opportunity for me to have the chance to impact our student-athletes by creating a safe environment for everyone so they can enjoy sport and everything it offers,” said Clarke. “Being a student-athlete is all about the experience and we have to make sure their journey offers proper development and is enjoyable for everyone.”
Clarke’s role is newly created and one of a number of important initiatives outlined earlier this year by Vikes Athletics and Recreation. One of Clarke’s first duties will be to onboard a new Associate Director, Sport, as James Keogh will be leaving his post at month’s end.
“Dr. Clarke has a profound understanding of the powerful value proposition that a high quality academic and athletic experience brings for a student. He will bring an immediate focus on student-athlete and program development, as we seek to advance our vision of transforming students’ lives and to ensure a varsity athletic culture where student-athletes, coaches and teams can aspire to national and international standards in a healthy environment,” said Clint Hamilton, Director of Vikes Athletics and Recreation.
Born in Tamworth, England, Clarke has his Sport and Exercise Science degree, along with his Bachelor of Science from the University of Bath, where he also played four years of rugby. He later obtained both his Master of Science (Kinesiology) and PhD (Sport Science) from the University of Saskatchewan, where he participated in varsity soccer and track and field. A committed lifelong learner and relationship builder, Clarke is passionate about strategy development.
“It is rare to see the level of passion and drive that Dr. Nick Clarke has for performance sport and moving sport culture forward. Nick is already a proud member of the Vikes and I am very excited to see him continue to motivate, inspire and elevate the Vikes community in this new role,” said Stephanie Dixon, a Vikes swimming alumnae who is also a decorated athlete at the Paralympic level with Canada.
Clarke first arrived in Victoria in 2013 to work with Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) as their Lead Strength & Conditioning for the Rio Olympic quadrennial. During that time he became the Co-Lead, Strength and Conditioning for CSIP. Since leaving RCA in 2017, he has held roles as a Sport Science consultant for Canada Soccer Association, Head of Strength and Conditioning for the Vikes and an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the school of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education (EPHE). Clarke is also an active member of the Performance Advisory Council with Own the Podium. He is a demonstrated leader and system builder with a strong respect and passion for university research and education, positive student experience and performance sport.
“Securing a candidate at the calibre of Dr. Clarke is a testimony to the university’s investment in ensuring a high quality student-athlete experience,” said Vikes men’s rowing Head Coach Aalbert Van Schothorst.
Throughout the interview process, Clarke articulated a strong commitment to advancing the Vikes culture of athletics in a fashion that aligns with expectations of safe sport and university priorities centred on diversity and equality.
“I thought the hiring process was really thorough and we dealt with a lot of highly qualified applicants, but at the end of the day, Dr. Nick Clarke was the clear No. 1 option to lead this program,” said Vikes men’s rugby captain James O’Neill. “If we want to take the Vikes to the next level, we need someone who is progressive and listens to the student body. I am confident that Nick has the ability to be a great leader.”
“Dr. Nick Clarke will be a tremendous asset to the Vikes program. He brings extensive knowledge and experience in designing and delivering performance sport programs, within a safe sport environment, which will benefit all varsity sports teams and continue the tradition of excellence,” said Alison Noble, a former swimmer with the Vikes and CEO of the B.C. Games Society.
Dixon, Noble, O’Neill and Van Schothorst were members of a nine-person committee consisting of stakeholders from the university, alumni and members of the sport community.
Clarke will officially commence his new role on Sept. 1.