Former Lions coach Monte Clark dies at 72
ALLEN PARK — The Lions announced Thursday that former head coach Monte Clark passed away at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital late Wednesday night at age 72, after an extended battle with bone marrow malignancy.
The head coach of the Lions from 1978-84, Clark cashed in the No. 1 pick in the 1980 draft for Billy Sims, and rode the Heisman Trophy winner to two straight playoff appearances, and the team’s first divisional title since its heyday in the 1950s. Clark may be best remembered for praying as Lions kicker Eddie Murray lined up a 43-yard field goal in the waning minutes of a 1983 divisional playoff game against the 49ers. The miss meant the Lions, who hadn't won a playoff game since their 1957 NFL championship, would have to wait another eight years before finally ending a 34-year drought with a postseason win.
Clark's football career, which spanned more than 60 years as a player, coach and consultant, was highlighted by his role as an offensive line coach for Don Shula's Dolphins, which won two Super Bowls and lost another in the early 1970s, and recorded the NFL's only perfect season (17-0) in 1972.
For more details on Clark's career, check Friday's print edition of The Oakland Press.