Head coach Travis Clark talks to his team after winning 17-14 against Redondo Union High School at the Sea Hawk bowl last Friday night. (Photo by Paul Alvarez, Jr.)

Travis Clark has resigned from his post as Santa Monica High School’s head football coach to take the helm of Lawndale’s program.

The Samohi alumnus steps away after six years in charge at his alma mater, a span during which the Vikings won two conference championships and made five postseason appearances.

Clark’s departure follows a campaign in which Santa Monica went 5-6 overall and 3-2 in Ocean League play, finishing behind El Segundo and Lawndale in the conference standings and falling to Torrance-West in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

Clark, who works in television production, was not a full-time employee in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Attempts to reach him were not successful.

He inherits a Lawndale squad that posted a 6-5 record this past season under coach Rick Mathiesen, who was recently dismissed.

“Clark is truly a coach dedicated to prioritizing athletes’ academics and thus far has a 100-percent graduation rate,” Lawndale principal Paula Hart Rodas said in a news release. “We look forward to a new season and new energy for Lawndale football. We believe Coach Clark has the spark to ignite the Lawndale football program in a progressive direction.”

For Clark, it’s the latest stop on a distinguished gridiron journey that has included both helmets and headsets.

An all-CIF honoree during his playing days at Santa Monica, Clark continued his athletic career at Utah State University and led his college conference in interceptions two years in a row. He was named to the All-America third team as a safety.

A former defensive coordinator at Inglewood who also served in assistant coaching roles at St. Monica Catholic and Samohi under Norm Lacy, Clark has been working the sidelines for about two decades. He became the Vikings’ head coach in 2009.

Clark posted an overall record of 41-28 (.594) during his six-year tenure, including a mark of 23-7 (.766) in conference play. But the Vikings regressed in playoff success over the last four seasons, reaching the section semifinals in 2011, losing in the quarterfinals in 2012 and 2013 and bowing out in the first round this past year.

Clark recently received a Caring Coach of the Year award from Dove for his work with a student-athlete with special needs.

SAMOHI UNDER TRAVIS CLARK

2009: 4-7, 3-2 (Ocean #3); lost in the CIFSS Western first round to Palmdale, 45-26
2010: 6-4, 3-2 (Ocean #4); N/A
2011: 11-2, 5-0 (Ocean #1); lost in the CIFSS Western semifinals to Culver City, 37-6
2012: 8-4, 5-0 (Ocean #1); lost in the CIFSS Western quarterfinals to Serra, 58-6
2013: 7-5, 4-1 (Ocean #2); lost in CIFSS Western quarterfinals to Lompoc, 42-10
2014: 5-6, 3-2 (Ocean #3); lost in the CIFSS Western first round to Torrance-West, 34-18
Totals: 41-28, 23-7 (two Ocean League titles); five playoff appearances

Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, jeff@www.smdp.com or on Twitter.

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