MUNSTER — Death wasn't just knocking on the door.

The Reaper's foot was halfway inside the house.

That's what Munster athletic director Brian Clark was facing at the end of July. All but certain death.

His heart was failing. His steps on the planet seemed short. A vapor, of sorts.

For the past 10-plus years Clark, his wife Karen and their five kids knew he had a heart issue. But when they were told congestive heart failure had reached a critical stage, only a miracle save him.

"The first night was very tough," Karen said before Friday night's home football game against Morton, where her husband went to school. "But after that we've had an incredible peace about this.

"We started praying about it right away. We knew Brian was in God's hands every step of the way."

Karen said Brian could not pray for a heart. It's simple. In order for him to receive a transplant another life would have to come to an end.

"It was something he just couldn't do," Karen said.

But it came nonetheless. On Aug. 13 Brian Clark had a heart transplant at the University of Chicago. He is still there recovering.

Ira Zimmer has come in to be Munster's athletic director while Clark recovers.

In this secular age, sadly, the Clark family's story is more rare than typical. They believe in God. Their faith is a part of their daily life. Prayer and believe isn't something they do on holidays.

Brian Clark answered the knock on his heart's door many years ago and that magnificent moment still holds him up, even in these nervous times.

"The hand of God has been with us every single step," Karen said. "All we asked for was that God's will be done."

The Clark's have five children. Zeke is 19. Jonah is 17, a junior on the football team. Mollie is 15. Grace is 14. And Lenise is 6.

Keep these kids in your heart and prayers. This time must be very tough for them. Who could imagine?

Karen's sister, Sheryl Morgan, got a tattoo on her arm that reads, "A beautiful heart in the midst of a tragedy." She had never been an organ donor. She is now.

Sometimes pain opens doors that we never knew were there.

The halftime show, the poms danced to Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer." It was perfect. At the end of the song, the ladies formed their poms into a B and C, then shook them as the music faded. A tear came to these old eyes.

Brian Clark is a great guy. A very good administrator that the Munster community loves. He is a great husband and father. What else can you say?

"It's been all right, we're doing good," said Jonah, who had a safety in his Mustangs' 24-16 loss to the Govs. "My dad's fight, what he's doing, is showing us what is possible. His strength and will is carrying all of us through."

Munster coach Leroy Marsh had nothing but praise for Jonah and his dad.

"Jonah is a high character kid, I can't say enough about him," Marsh said. "He plays hard all the time. He hasn't said anything about it, you wouldn't know his father is in the hospital. They're a great family and I'm happy to know them all."

I hope all of you will join me in lifting up Brian Clark in your prayers. He's doing better but has a long way to go. And include Karen and the kids, too. It must be tough for them all. But they are leaning on something that they know is there, and will never move, no matter what.

And lastly, say a prayer for the donor's family. They lost someone they love. They could use the Region to lift them up.

So let's do such a thing.

This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at


Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.