Xavier opened its doors for the first time in the fall of 1959, and a young man named Gene "Torchy" Clark 'moved' from St. Mary's Grade School in Appleton to become the first head coach for the football and basketball teams at the city's first Catholic high school. He also coached the boys tennis teams and was the athletic director at XHS.
His legacy at Xavier almost seems made up, as he quickly established a very successful and strong tradition... one that still makes the school widely respected in athletic circles.
He coached 10 seasons at Xavier (the 1959 football season was against JV teams as the school opened with only freshmen and sophomores, and, XHS joined a conference in '61). Torchy's teams won almost 90% of the time, and, they earned plenty of 'hardware' to fill the school's trophy cases: XHS won 7 conference championships in 8 years in football, and, they captured 8 conference titles in 8 seasons in basketball. His record for football and basketball at Xavier was 277-35-2 -- a phenomenal 88% over 10 years.
His B-ball teams went to the State Tournament in Milwaukee 6 times in 9 years, and the Hawks returned to Appleton with a trophy each time: Xavier won the State Title in 1963, was 2nd in '64, was 4th once, and claimed 3 Consolation honors. A then-single-game-record-crowd of 7,095 witnessed the '63 state finals, eager to see Xavier top Marquette High, 71-66, in a raucous, 'mostly-blue' Milwaukee Arena.
His basketball teams won 49 straight, but their shot at the '64 state title and 50-in-a-row came up short against Marinette Central & Coach Marty Crowe, 43-37. Torchy's teams also had a 62-game regular season win streak -- before Chicago St. Pat's put an end to that string, 66-54, before an as-always packed-in-crowd in the noisy & hot XHS gym.
The post-season Football Playoffs in Wisconsin did not start until 1969 -- after Clark left Xavier for a college coaching position in Florida.
Clark passed away on April 22, 2009.
READ MORE ABOUT COACH TORCHY CLARK...
AND SEE LOTS OF PHOTOS -- IN THESE PDF FILES:
TORCHY CLARK LEGACY & GYM DEDICATION
TORCHY'S NUMBERS TORCHY'S TEAMS