Watsonville High School announced July 8 that Becky Clark—a 2002 alumna and CIF State Wrestling runner-up in 2001—was hired as the school's newest athletic director. (Juan Reyes/The Pajaronian)

A little more than two decades ago, Becky Clark was one of the most passionate wrestlers to compete for Watsonville High. She made a name for herself after finishing runner-up at the California Interscholastic Federation State Wrestling Championships in 2001.  

Clark, who will turn 40 in October, etched her name in the history books once again after Watsonville High School Principal Joe Gregorio announced July 8 that Clark was named the first female athletic director in the school’s 100-plus year existence. 

“I love the community, I have a lot of pride for Watsonville,” Clark said. 

Clark will replace Marcus Northcutt, who also spent time as the boys’ basketball and football head coach. 

Gregorio said Clark stressed to him about her passion for athletics and hinted of taking over the vacated role prior to the application process. 

“I love that she loves high school athletics and wants to come back to help,” Gregorio said. “It’s something that she’s really super passionate about and really wants to give back to Watsonville High.” 

Gregorio was impressed with Clark’s enthusiasm, energy and drive because it reminded him of when he first started coaching. 

“[Clark] has the same type of energy like [former Aptos football] coach [Randy] Blankenship has, or [former St. Francis boys’ basketball coach] Ed Kelly, [former Aptos athletic director] Mark Dorfman,” Gregorio said. “You can’t manufacture that, you can’t fake that. I’m super excited because one: she’s a Wildcat, and two: everything she could do to make sure that the kids get the best possible experience playing sports and are successful in life, she’s gonna do it.”

Clark spent three years as a wrestling coach at Menlo College, followed by two years at Cupertino High, and has supported Watsonville for the past four years. 

Prior to that, Clark—a 2002 graduate—was the first girls’ wrestler in Wildcatz history to qualify for the CIF State Wrestling Championships.

A history that includes state titles from Gus Paz in 1982 and David Barnes in 1979. Clark, who at the time went by the surname Tavera, was runner-up in 2001 and the closest ‘Catz’s girls wrestler to win a state title. 

It wasn’t long ago when Clark decided to redirect her career into something she was more passionate about. She said everything came into play after spending quality time around several of the Wildcatz’s sports programs. 

Clark came up with ideas on how to improve the athletics department and the rest was history. 

She believes her background in finance, along with technology and gaming, could be beneficial when it comes to catering for student-athletes. Clark’s goal is to bring back a community aspect by having more parents involved and boosters that will contribute to a moving community.  

“Our kids’ happiness is what that big difference is,” she said. “They’re not thriving right now, and I need to get in there. There’s a lot to dig in and clean up, but I’m really, really excited.” 

Gregorio has faith Clark fully understands the type of community she’s working with in Watsonville, especially because she grew up in it. 

“[Clark] totally gets it and I think it’s a huge piece, too, because at the end of the day it’s what can we do the best for the kids at Watsonville High,” he said. 

Gregorio is also proud of the fact that Clark became the first woman to take over the athletic department.

“It wasn’t because she was a female, she’s the most qualified. Easily the most qualified in terms of her knowledge of sports, her enthusiasm and she does come from a finance background,” Gregorio said. “That does play into the part of athletics, the fundraising and especially in this climate of making sure that we have the funding for all of our sports. That’s a huge plus for us.”

Clark will not take on any coaching roles and instead will focus her time on learning the back end of the job that people don’t normally see.

Above all, she’s looking forward to working with the student-athletes in hopes of inspiring them and seeing them grow with the help of sports.

“I told Joe Gregorio that we’re gonna have a good time working together, and I feel like he’s really passionate about sports, too,” she said. “He’s a coach. I think we’ll complement each other once we get in there.”

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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