To hear the guy who did the hiring tell it, Alex Kirk earned his new job based on what he did prior to the interview.
“What really impressed myself and the advisory board was his preparation,” the Clark College athletic director said about Wednesday’s addition of Kirk as the school’s men’s basketball coach. “He came in with a program of what his first 100 days would look like at Clark College. He is very skilled at using today’s technology to improve efficiencies on and off the court.”
Kirk, 26, comes to Clark after one season as varsity coach at King’s Way Christian in Vancouver, where he guided the Knights to an 18-9 record and a spot in the Class 1B state semifinals. He previously worked as director of basketball operations at the University of Portland, as an assistant at Mountain View High School, and with the Dan Dickau Basketball Academy.
Denny Huston, former athletic director at Clark, knew Kirk from the coach’s days at Portland and followed the King’s Way team last season.
“I went out and watched some of his practices,” Huston said. “The guy is so far ahead of everybody as far as his communication that he blew me away.”
Kirk is a native of Prosser. He received a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Portland and a master’s degree in athletic administration from Concordia University in Irvine, Calif.
“I always sort of looked at Clark as this sleeping giant that would be a great opportunity for whoever had the helm,” Kirk said. “They’ve done a great job; I’m going to do my best to continue that momentum.”
But that momentum has included some controversy.
The sophomore-laden Penguins concluded a 25-4 season with two losses at the NWAACC Tournament in March, and Guthrie declined to renew the contract of coach Mike Arnold.
That will place added scrutiny on Kirk’s first season.
Huston said: “With two players coming back to Clark next year, John Wooden couldn’t win with that.”
Kirk said: “We have a whole roster to fill. When you look at it, I have to get one kid before I can get 12; I have to get two before I get three. There’s a lot to like for a kid and his parents just coming on campus. The academics are going to sell themselves.”
At the time of Arnold’s dismissal, Guthrie spelled out some of the characteristics he would be seeking in a new coach.
Among them were an emphasis on recruiting players from Clark County and strong organizational skills.
On Wednesday, he said of Kirk, “We’re confident that his networks will have a strong and positive impact on our ability to recruit student athletes.”
Michael Haddad, a freshman guard from Union High School who sat on the advisory panel, said, “His preparation was awesome. He came in with his offense, with his defense. He wants somebody who plays with heart and passion because that’s what he has for the game.
“He wants to win. He’s energetic. He’s ready to go and well-prepared. That sums him up.”