Breaking News
More () »

Va. Beach's Clark found a different path with the guidance of his mom

Aaron Clark, who's been in the front office of the Chicago Bears the past 7 years is the son of former NSU women's head coach Debra Clark.

There's no shortage of professional athletes bred from the 757, but one Virginia Beach native has filled a different role in the NFL, serving as Director of Football Communications for the Chicago Bears. 

Many of the lessons Aaron Clark learned growing up in Virginia Beach have paved the way for the successful career he’s had in his 7th year working in the league. The Tallwood High School product, played basketball at Virginia Wesleyan, where he overcame some unexpected adversity. 

“It was the first time in my life that you get to the team and you're not the best player on the team or you're not the starter.”

Motivated by setback, Clark's passion and impeccable work ethic took him a long way, later becoming the starting point guard and one of the team’s two captains. But being a competitive athlete wasn’t the only reason he naturally gravitated towards a career in sports. He had a unique perspective growing up, as his mom Debra, was the women’s basketball coach at Norfolk State from 2008-2016.

“Growing up with my mom coaching for pretty much my whole childhood I was always around sports,” said Clark. “Fortunately for me I knew that there were other avenues in sports outside of playing and coaching.”

Starting as an intern with the Bears in 2016, Clark worked his way up to Director of Football Communications, serving as a liaison between the team and the media. Clark has been an integral part of the program, being an outlet for both players and coaches and through many staff changes his presence has been one of the few constants.           

“Being an athlete, us being around the same age and we have the same interests so being able to relate to them off the field and being able to relate to them when work is over, I think helps me build the trust with them,” Clark said. 

For years he’s seen players giving back to their communities through charitable donations, and although he’s not in the same tax bracket as those millionaire athletes, Clark has found his own way of giving back, hosting an annual virtual sports forum for young students looking to break into the industry. In July, he hosted the second annual event which included 4 panels featuring agents and other industry professionals from the MLB, NBA, and other NFL, as well as Dianna Russini from ESPN and Allen Robinson, star receiver for the Bears. 

Clark aims to provide kids with an opportunity to know what they want to do early in their careers so when they get to college, they know what internships to look for to expedite their career path. 

“Giving information to those kids who are interested in sports who may not be athletes or may not be able to play at the highest level, just to let them know that there are so many avenues to make a career in sports,” he said.  

Although Clark doesn’t have the chance to return home often, he remains very close with friends and family in the area, including his former coach at VWU, Dave Macedo, who enters his 23rd season with the program. Yet no matter where his career takes him, he’s always reminded of his 757 roots.  

“We’re obviously at the highest level of sports and to still be able to run into people who are from your area and have a lot of pride in being from the area I think is pretty cool.”

Before You Leave, Check This Out