Just when Limestone College head men’s lacrosse coach J.B. Clarke did not think a visit to the South Carolina State House could get any better on Thursday, he was surprised with a once-in-a-lifetime award from the Governor.
Clarke, who was visiting the capitol building so that his 2017 NCAA Division II National Championship team could be recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives, had no idea he would be receiving the “Order of the Silver Crescent” from the office of Governor Henry McMaster.
The “Order of the Silver Crescent” is the state’s highest civilian award for significant contributions, leadership, volunteerism, and lifelong influence within a region or community.
Tommy Windsor, the Director of Boards and Commissions for the Governor, was on hand to present the award to Clarke. Governor McMaster was able to attend the presentation ceremony.
“I feel the Order of the Silver Crescent would be an exceptional way to show our appreciation for the outstanding dedication and commitment Coach Clarke has made to Cherokee County and to the state of South Carolina,” Sen. Harvey Peeler wrote in his recommendation letter to the Governor.
A native of Connecticut, Clarke has led the Saints to three national championships, in 2014, 2015, and 2017. Limestone also won national titles in 2000 and 2002.
About to enter his eighth year at the helm of the Limestone program, Clarke has an overall career record of 276-78 and has coached in the NCAA Final Four at the Division I, II, and III levels. Prior to coming to Limestone, Clarke spent 12 years as the head coach at Washington College and one season at Greensboro College. He has also spent time as the offensive coordinator at Duke University, and served on the staffs at The Ohio State University and Roanoke College.
He was inducted into the United States Lacrosse Connecticut Chapter Hall of Fame in Stratford, Connecticut in November of 2017. He is a 1989 graduate of Southern Connecticut State University.
Clarke also has a huge influence on the national level, currently serving as the President of the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association Board of Directors. He has also been a member of the USILA Division II and III All-America committee, the USILA National Poll committee, and the U.S. National Team selection committee. He was named the 2014 and 2015 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division II Coach of the Year.
He currently holds the highest career winning percentage in program history, winning 92.8-percent of his games at Limestone, and has guided the Saints to seven straight Conference Carolinas Regular Season and Tournament Championship sweeps. He has had several of his players go on to play lacrosse professionally.
“Coach Clarke has affected the lives of young men on the field, off the field, and in the classroom,” Windsor noted. “He certainly deserves this honor from the Governor’s Office of his adopted state of South Carolina. We cannot say enough about the positive exposure he has brought to Limestone, Cherokee County, and our state.”
Limestone men’s lacrosse placed four student-athletes on the USILA All-America Team during the 2017 campaign and has mentored the National Player of the Year in each of the past three seasons. Clarke’s teams regularly produce USILA Scholar All-Americans and Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll for outstanding academic achievement.
Under Clarke’s leadership, his team members frequently volunteer for community service projects across Gaffney and Cherokee County. His squad was a part of a Limestone Athletics program last year that logged over 4,100 hours for community service and community engagement projects.
During Thursday’s stop in Columbia, the Clarke’s team was recognized for a third time in four years at the State House. The Saints were honored on the floors of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Senator Peeler hosted the team in the Senate chambers, while Representatives Dennis Moss, Steve Moss, Eddie Tallon, and Gary Clary hosted the team on the House floor.