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LARAMIE, Wyo. — Former Belgrade High and Montana State football standout Beau Clark has been chosen head men's and women's rodeo coach at Wyoming.

Clark, whose current Laramie County Community College men’s team is on the brink of winning the Central Rocky Mountain Region, begins his duties the day after the College National Finals Rodeo on June 19. Clark succeeds George Howard, who unexpectedly died late last year in Converse County. Former UW cowgirl Lydia Coe, who was Howard’s assistant coach for three years, has been UW’s interim coach this spring.

“I am confident that the University of Wyoming rodeo program has the opportunity to become one of the elite rodeo programs in the country — a program that the Laramie community and the entire state of Wyoming will be proud to stand behind and support,” Clark said. “I firmly believe that together, we can create an environment that is structured with attention to detail, competitive in the rodeo arena and committed to education, with an appreciation for lifelong learning.”

Clark qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in steer wrestling in 2012 and recently competed at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida.

He was a three-year assistant at Montana State, where he graduated in 2007 with an agriculture business degree. He is working on his master’s degree in educational, school and counseling psychology, with an emphasis in positive coaching, through the University of Missouri.

Clark came to MSU on a football scholarship, earned all-Big Sky Conference honors as a defensive tackle and also was named team captain. He was an all-state football player in Belgrade and a dual champion in the discus and shot put events.

Clark has been LCCC’s head coach the past two seasons and has built the Golden Eagles’ program, especially the men’s team, into a regional contender. The LCCC men are second in the CRMR behind defending champion Sheridan College, with two rodeos left this spring. The LCCC women’s team has improved steadily this season and has climbed to fourth place in the latest CRMR standings.

For much of the season, the UW women have been in second place in the region, but they recently dropped to third. The Cowgirls finished second in the nation last season. The Cowboys are currently sitting sixth in the regional standings.

“We are very excited to have a coach of Beau’s caliber ready to join our program as we continue to work at bringing our rodeo program to the next level,” said Frank Galey, dean of the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“The excitement regarding Beau taking the reins of our rodeo program extends across UW, the current and future UW rodeo student-athletes, and the Wyoming rodeo community,” added Mike Day, head of the UW Department of Animal Science, which oversees the rodeo program.

Clark said his goals for the UW rodeo program “align with the vision I have for an elite collegiate rodeo program.”

“The primary goal is to build the most complete rodeo program in the country. In order to achieve this goal, I will recruit outstanding student-athletes who are welcomed by the community, work hard academically, relentlessly pursue college rodeo championships and benefit from their University of Wyoming experience.”

Additional goals, he adds, include holding to high standards, expectations and accountability for student-athlete well-being, growth, academics, graduation and achievements in the rodeo arena.

Clark said he’s a “unique college rodeo coach” because he did not compete in rodeo at the collegiate level.

“The experience as a college football athlete provided me with great insight into building an elite-level rodeo program,” he said. “My time as a college football player instilled in me the importance of team dynamics regarding structure and attention to detail, student-athlete well-being, leadership, community support, fundraising and commitment to academics.”

Clark and his wife, Charli, have a son, Caysen, 2, and daughter, Kyler, 1.