Dave Clark has fulfilled roles at the highest level of sport, including national fitness coach at Welsh Rugby; head of strength and conditioning at the Scottish Institute of Sport; and head of fitness and sports science at the Irish Rugby Football Union.
It was during the South African’s time at the Institute of Sport, on the Stirling campus, that he discussed the possibility of a PhD with Angus Hunter, Reader in Sport at the University.
“During my time at the Institute of Sport, I befriended Angus, who had studied his own PhD at my alma mater, the University of Cape Town,” Dave said.
“While working in performance sport, a number of potential research questions arose. I discussed these with Angus and investigated the literature around one in particular – core stability – and it was this which led to the PhD.”
Dave spent eight years working part-time on his PhD and, during that time, lectured at the University; completed a postgraduate certificate module; and fulfilled the requirements to become an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Dave, 60, changed job three times and moved house twice during his PhD and credits the support he received from his family with helping him to achieve his degree.
Reflecting on his time at Stirling, Dave added: “My relationship with the staff, particularly Angus, and my fellow students was one of the things I valued the most. It was a friendly, inspirational and supportive environment.”
“I valued the weekly group lab meeting, the campus, the sports facilities and the high-level of sporting activity on campus.” He also credits the support he got from Dr Mike Lambert, his second supervisor from the University of Cape Town.
Dave has returned to research and lecturing after accepting a post at Liverpool John Moore’s University.