Physical Address124 County Highway 52, Cooperstown, New York, 13326 • View directions & map
Mailing AddressP.O. Box 850, Cooperstown, New York, 13326
Phone & Fax Number
Phone: (607) 547-2800 • Fax: (607) 547-4100
Contact Our Staff
Val Paige • Director
Brenda Wedderspoon-Gray • Associate Director of Programs
Kathy Graham • Associate Director of Membership & Marketing
Rose Craine • Associate Director For Business Administration
John Harris • Associate Director of Facility & Grounds
Deb Bennet •Assistant to the Business Manager
Eve Cripps • Group Reservations & Human Resources
Erin Newkerk • Marketing Director
Emily Kishbaugh • Assistant Marketing Director
Athletics & Bowling
Facilities & Main Desk
Rich Anderson • Assistant Director of Facility & Grounds
Kitt Connolly • Assistant Membership Director
Health, Fitness & Racquets
Rich Jantzi • Health, Fitness & Racquets Director
Jim Jordan • Assistant Health & Fitness Director
Amy Porter • Group Fitness Coordinator
Kara Arnold • Personal Training Specialist
David Lauria • Strength & Conditioning Coordinator
Doug McCoy • Special Events Director
It is the primary mission of The Clark Sports Center to take an active role in the health, fitness, recreational and educational life of the Village of Cooperstown and its surrounding area. Specific objectives include safe, high quality youth, adult, and family programming as well as outreach programs aimed at addressing the needs of the under served local populations.
It is the vision of The Clark Sports Center to provide exceptional opportunities for those we serve to experience a lifetime of fitness and fun through education and recreation.
The Guiding Principles referenced below serve as ethical and moral expectations for all Clark Sports Center employees.
- Those We Serve Come First: Meeting the needs of the people we serve is our primary concern. Their safety, growth and health are the first considerations in every decision. Their needs must be responded to promptly and positively.
- Employee Satisfaction: Selecting quality staff, providing them with quality training and supervision in a positive respectful atmosphere is imperative.
- Continually Improve Through Innovation: Look for new and better ways of doing things while building on what we have already accomplished.
- Commit to Excellence: Our standard of performance is excellence. Those we serve depend on us to provide them with the highest degree of excellence in our services.
- Have Fun: Enjoyment is at the core of the services we offer and the environment within which we work.
- Offer Respect and Compassion to All: Everyone deserves to be treated with the highest degree of respect and compassion.
History of The Clark Sports Center
In 1891, the first Alfred Corning Clark Gymnasium opened in Cooperstown, New York. The building occupied the former site of a hardware store at the corner of Main and Fair Street. An indoor track surfaced with canvas circled the upper portion of the main activity room. The bowling alleys, locker rooms and a large “general purpose” gym floor were also included. Membership at the ACC Gym cost $3 to $6 per year for adults and surprisingly for the times, women were encouraged to join as full participants. Professor William F. Martin was appointed Director and served in that position until 1927.
The facility proved to be an instant success. By the end of the first year membership had already exceeded 200 people. Classes included a broad range of activities from fencing, high jumping, boxing and weight lifting to running and general fitness. In 1924, Professor Martin introduced a swimming and diving program at the present Country Club site on Lake Otsego.
In May 1929, the original gymnasium was demolished and a new one was erected. Edward Severin Clark, an activist in the Cooperstown community, was concerned that the gym should not remain closed for an unnecessarily long period of time. Stonemasons and construction workers labored throughout the winter. The building, in much the same form that it still appears on Main Street, opened on May 30, 1930. Swimming, basketball, squash courts and a steam bath were among the new features. Four bowling lanes were added with more classes and longer operating hours.
William Beattie, a British emigrant, succeeded Professor Martin and held the position of gym Director from 1928 until his death in 1942. His replacement, the legendary Colonel Simon W. Acoutin, served with the Clark Gymnasium for over 33 years, 21 of those as Director. Born in pre-Revolutionary Soviet Union, Colonel Acoutin fought in the White Russian Army and barely escaped over the eastern frontier after the military collapse of 1919. After entering China he immigrated to the United States where he found his way to Cooperstown as a riding instructor. A man of enormous dignity, tact and discipline, Colonel Acoutin remains a much loved and well-remembered character.
The second ACC Gymnasium had become an active and vital part of the recreational and social life of the community. Malcolm Brooks joined the ACC Gymnasium in the sixties and continued the legacy of service through to the mid 1980's. He helped to establish a new standard of programming in all areas of the operation while continuing to provide a unique sports center at the heart of the village. In 1983, The Clark Foundation announced its intention to build a larger facility on land donated by Mr. Stephen C. Clark, Jr. one-half mile south of the village, opposite the Iroquois Farm Estate on Susquehanna Avenue. The community's growth and the need for modernized facilities dictated a much larger building. Construction was started for the new gymnasium in 1985.
The new facility represented a significant expansion of staff, equipment, programs, operating hours and services. Led by Alfred C. Clark, Jr., enormous creative planning went into every detail, from its range of Nautilus exercise equipment, aerobics studio, lighting design and sound system to the climbing walls and Outward Bound Challenge Course. Traditional features included a large gym floor, a swimming pool and an indoor track. Other additions were an eating area, conference room, and saunas. With the dedication on October 5, 1986, the third ACC Gymnasium continued its ninety four-year commitment to the community. At that time, Geoffrey Childs became Director of the gym. The successful expansion of traditional family programs and the addition of outreach activities for Cooperstown and the surrounding areas including New York City distinguished Mr. Childs' six-year tenure. The center officially opened on October 27, 1986 at 6:30am.
In June of 1993, J. Bart Morrison was named Director. Traditional activities such as basketball, swimming, bowling, and racquet sports were renewed and strengthened. Many new activities that were ushered in with the opening of the new facility in 1986 such as Outward Bound, adventure programming and various outreach activities were given additional energy through careful review and adjustment. In June of 1994, the Board of Directors of The Clark Foundation decided that a more modern name representing the organization's broadened scope and comprehensiveness was needed. The ACC Gymnasium was renamed The Clark Sports Center.
After six successful years, J. Bart Morrison returned to graduate school to pursue his Ph.D. In September 2000, Bradford J. Feik accepted the appointment of Director of The Clark Sports Center. A past Cooperstown resident, he returned home to carry on the great work of his predecessors until his departure in 2007.
On January 16, 2009, Dion Wade officially started his tenure as the 8th Director of The Clark Sports Center. Dion brings to our organization a wealth of experience in fitness, recreation, and sports. He attended undergraduate school at Trinity University in San Antonio and received his masters degree in educational leadership from the University of Central Florida at Orlando. Before moving to Cooperstown in 2008, Dion served as Assistant Director of Facilities for the Division of Recreational Sports at the University of Texas at Austin.
Part-Time Athletic Department Staff
The Clark Sports Center's Athletic Department is currently taking applications for part time employees. Hours are nights and weekends. For more information, please call Scott Whiteman at (607) 547-2800, ext. 109. Applications can be picked up at the Front Desk of the Sports Center or can be downloaded (see bottom of page).
We are in search of highly energetic people that are self motivated and goal oriented. Hours are flexible. Must hold a PT Certification or have started the process or becoming one. For more information, please contact Rich Jantzi (607) 547-2800, ext. 125, or send in application.
Employment Application Form
Interested in working at the Sports Center? Download and fill out the employee information form below and we will keep your resume on file for when any opportunities become available. Please return the completed form to the Main Desk.