For several years the bookstore at Clarke University has sold t-shirts that read “Unbeaten since 1843”, a joke referring to the Dubuque school’s lack of a football program. That all changes on August 31st when Clarke debuts varsity football by hosting Central Methodist University of Missouri.
It is a process that began in January of 2015 when the Clarke Board of Trustees voted to add the sport of football. In 2017 Miguel Regalado was hired as head coach and has spent more than two years building the program from scratch.
“Even with two years to prepare I feel like we still have a million things to do before next Saturday”, said Regalado. “There is a little bit of anxiousness to make sure we have covered everything but there is also excitement. It has been two years and our kids have been working extremely hard and I think they are all excited as well as the staff to start playing football.”
Clarke will compete in NAIA as a member of the Heart of America Conference. Regalado set out to build a solid foundation for the program and because of that the Pride will feature a squad of primarily freshmen.
“When we line up next Saturday pretty much about 90 percent of our team will have not played in a college football game before”, added Regalado. “It is scary but exciting at the same time. We are going to be very young and they are going to make a lot of mistakes but we are looking forward to seeing them make progress.”