(September 19, 1952 – December 4, 2011)
In 1982, with the help of college coaches, Joe Ciampi and Mack McCarthy, formerly of Auburn University, Debo Clark founded.. The idea of helping the College Athletic world came from her years working in the Hotel Industry for Vista Host. Her innovative idea behind Host Team solved the essential problem that every Coach faced.. Budgets! She took a small idea and turned into a large well know company throughout the Collegiate World.
She has received numerous awards and accolades from Athletic Departments throughout the United States for her commitment to College Athletics. Since 1982, Collegiate Sports Travel has been the leader in Athletic Travel handling over 300 University programs throughout the country. There isn’t a Coach that doesn’t know her!!
In 1995, Debo decided to party way with her former business partner and changed the named of the company to Collegiate Sports Travel.
In January of 2006, Debo partnered with Sarah Parmley, former National Sales Manager for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Sarah brought with her over 14 years of experience handling the sports market for several major hotel chains
In June 2009, She was honored with the Texas Coaching Legend Award at the Angelo Football Clinic in San Angelo, Texas, the largest football clinic in the country. It was one of the proudest moments of her life. In the clinic's 36-year history, Clark was only the 12th person to receive the award as well as being the only woman and only "non-coach" to receive it and she's in good company. Past recipients include Bum Phillips, Former Head Coach - Houston Oilers/New Orleans Saints, Darrell Royal, former Head Coach - U of Texas, Gene Stallings, former Head Coach, U of Alabama, Hayden Fry, former Head Coach at U of Iowa and Jim Hess, former Head Coach at New Mexico State and a former Scout for the Dallas Cowboys.
Debo was stunned. "I think this is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my career" said Clark. "To be in the company of football greats like Bum, Gene, Darrell and Jim is such an honor. I am truly humbled and ecstatic at the same time. I hope I can live up to the title of a Texas Coaching Legend"
Debo has 4 children: The oldest, Shane, lives in Dothan, Al and works as Sales Rep. He has 2 children, Jordyn, Whitney Kate, and Cutter. Dylan lives in Pensacola and works as a leasing agent. Her youngest, Tyler, graduated from Troy U. and obtained his degree in Journalism/Music. Tyler was diagnosed with Cerebal Palsy when he was a baby. After the Doctors said he would never walk or talk and recommended that Debo put him in a Nursing Home, she worked diligently on proving them wrong. She dedicated her life to providing the best care and support to develop him into more than what the doctors predicted. And she did!
Sky has followed in the footsteps of her mother. She has worked at Collegiate Sports Travel since the age of 15. She is currently a co-owner in the company carrying on the tradition that Debo started.
On December 4, 2011, Debo passed away and the entire Coaching network felt the loss. She was not only a friend to Coaches across the country but she was also family. They were present at her funeral, gave eulogies in her honor and helped lay her to rest. In that moment, everyone truly felt what she meant in the Athletic World. She was an extraordinary and beautiful woman. She was a mentor, a mother, a fantastic businesswoman and most importantly she was a loyal friend to so many.
Debo had quite a way with words…. In fact, at Football Convention in January 2012, her staff honored her with tshirts for all of her Coaches that included their favorite ‘Deboisms’.
Our Top Ten Favorite “Debo-isms”
- “He’s like a pet squirrel, he’s cute and you want to pet him but you know he’s going to bite you.”
- “If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the bodies of your dead enemies float by.”
- “Coach, if you want a better hotel, you gotta get a better schedule.”
- “I’m teach a course in prior planning Coach, and you are the first one I’m going to enroll.”
- “Do you know who I am?”
- “I’m a legend!”
- “You talk big with the windows rolled up.”
- “Time to pull up your big girl panties.”
- “I don’t have any ugly friends”
- “Holdon on a minute, you’re going WAY too fast!”
And a Bonus Saying…..
“My Cell phone NEVER rang!”