Cedeno Clark completed the course at John Tyler again.

Nearly 20 years after graduating from the same school, Clark received a promotion to become John Tyler’s head boys basketball coach, the Tyler Independent School District announced on Thursday.

For the past eight seasons Clark worked as an assistant at JT, recently leading the junior varsity to a perfect record in district play. Clark spent the last four games as acting coach, guiding the Lions to district and bi-district championships in the process.

“It’s just a passion and a drive to do what I’m doing now,” Clark said. “I solely believe the Lord led me in this direction. I’ve always had a passion for the school and since I’ve been in education I’ve (tried) to put myself in this position. It has come full-circle.”

JT has won 20 games or more in 16 of the past 20 seasons dating back to Clark’s senior year, when he played for Carl Love, who later gave him his start in coaching.

The Lions finished the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 24-8, advancing to the area round after winning its second straight district championship.

Clark bridges the gap from the previous three tenures, having served one year as freshman coach under Love, who won 400 games in 17 seasons on the JT sidelines; two years as junior varsity coach under Gerald Anthony, which included one playoff appearances; and for three seasons, all resulting in playoff trips, as assistant head coach under Tony Pinson.

JT went 2-2 with Clark in charge after Pinson stepped aside amidst health problems while the school district conducted an investigation concurrently. Pinson resigned during the last week in March, citing health reasons.

Pinson promoted Clark to be his assistant head coach upon getting the job, and often touted him as a likely successor.

“I’ve been under three great guys that taught me a lot about the game,” Clark said. “That will make the transition easy I don’t see it being any different from being a freshman (or assistant) coach. I will work the same and be prepared.”

Clark coached JT in its final two regular season games, including a win over Jacksonville to clinch a share of the 14-4A crown, and in a bi-district win over Royse City and second-round loss to Ennis.

He gained other valuable experience in the 2010-11 season when he coached the team when it clinched the Smithville Tournament championship with a win over state-ranked Brenham. He also coached the current junior crop when they played as freshmen on the JV in 2009-10 and won district in 11-5A. Clark’s freshman team in 2006-07 went 23-2 to win district.

Clark calculated an achievable plan to success for a state contender set to return eight varsity players, including five of the team’s top seven scorers, and three all-district performers.

“It’s simple math,” Clark said regarding his formula to success. “In order for us to get where we want we have to work hard every single day and it will work itself out.”

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CEDENO CLARK PROFILE

Background: John Tyler graduate; Attended Jarvis Christian Community College

Coaching experience: John Tyler (2004-2012) — Freshmen (2004-2007), Junior Varsity (2007-2009); Assistant head coach (2009-12).

Achievements: Has coached district champions on the freshman and junior varsity level. The JT JV went 14-0 in 2011-12 to win 14-4A title.

Notable: Played varsity basketball for JT in early 1990s and later at Jarvis Christian College for two years. Clark is married to Kinetha, and has a stepson, Kamryn Howard (17), and son, Christopher (8).

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