From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Teacher Barrie Clarke leaves to coach Canadian soccer squads

In 1979, Barrie Clarke was selected to guide the development of four national teams.

Since first publishing on April 16, 1891 the Chilliwack Progress has been the newspaper of record in Chilliwack.

One hundred and 28 years later the Progress remains the longest continuously published newspaper in British Columbia. With the addition of a thriving digital operation anchored by theprogress.com, the Progress delivers more news to more people than ever before.

‘From the Progress Archives’ is a journey into the past, to see what was making news decades ago.

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Headline – Clarke absence gets board okay

Date – January 24, 1979

Vedder Junior Secondary teacher Barrie Clarke was granted a three year leave of absence last Wednesday by the Chilliwack school board.

Clarke last week accepted an offer to coach Canada’s four national soccer teams through 1982. Prior to that, he was just recently granted another leave of absence to coach Canada’s youth soccer team in Honduras, and he came back with a silver medal win.

In Mr. Clarke’s letter to the board he said, “I consider myself principally a teacher. My family is settled in Chilliwack. I have enjoyed 11 years as a teacher in this school district and for these reasons I should like to return to Chilliwack as a teacher at the end of this three year development program (developing Canada’s soccer teams).

“In addition,” he wrote. “I have always felt that my involvement in Canadian soccer has always been with the support and endorsement of School District 33. On a somewhat greater scale, I am now asking for that same support and permission to become the national soccer coach for Canada.”

District superintendent Bill Fisher told the board, “Mr. Clarke is a very versatile fellow. He is able to teach almost anything and do it well.”

One trustee asked it there might be teacher contract troubles when Mr. Clarke comes back to the district expecting a job. Most trustees agreed there will not be.

It was was suggested that Mr. Clarke’s absence might aid the board in dealing with declining enrolment. This way, it was said, some shifting might be done so that a replacement will not be needed.

Mr. Fisher added, “in terms of straight numbers … there is no question Mr. Clarke’s absence will help the school district.”

Newly-elected board chairman Don Patten said, “I’m sure we’ll welcome him back in the district.”

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