Maybe it’s because she’s always been there. Because she’s always smiling, always supportive. Maybe it’s because she goes to all the games, cheers them on, listens to them, dotes on them.
Maybe. But she has a sneaking suspicion that the reason all the student-athletes compete to be her favorite comes down to something much more simple.
“I always have candy out for them,” laughs Patricia Clark – or PC, as she’s affectionately called in the Department of Athletics. Having served as the administrative specialist there for more than 17 years, she has assumed the role of the departmental matriarch, or maybe house mother, and sees herself as an ambassador of the College and its student-athletes. “I’m the first person a lot of them meet, and I really am the silent fan for the student-athletes – their total advocate. We crack at each other, but they also come to me for advice. I’m kind of their mom away from home.”
That’s why it’s so heartwarming when the former student-athletes and her student-workers come back to visit.
“It’s rewarding when they follow up with you or they stop in and remember you,” says Clark, who has been around longer than most of her coworkers. “I’m the only face they recognize anymore. People come and go, but I’m still here.”
That perseverance is due in large part to Clark’s ability to adapt – whether it be to a new athletics director, a new arena, a new coach or a new prominence in the world of college sports.
“This is a vast world. You have to evolve with it,” she says. “It just makes sense that things change.”
Some things, of course, never change: Patricia Clark will always support the College and its student-athletes. She will always have candy at her desk. And she will never, ever pick a favorite.