KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knoxville Ice Bears have named their seventh head coach in the 20-year history of the franchise following the departure of reigning SPHL Coach of the Year Jeff Carr.

Brent Clarke named 7th coach in Knoxville Ice Bears history

Brent Clarke has been named head coach and will return to Knoxville after serving as an Ice Bears assistant during the 2020-21 season when the Ice Bears finished second in the league. He departs the Watertown Wolves of the Federal Prospects Hockey League where he led the Wolves to the Commissioner’s Cup as the league’s 2022 playoff champion.

“I’m extremely excited to be back in Knoxville and would like to thank [Owner/President/GM] Mike Murray, [Executive Vice President] Dave Feather and the Ice Bears ownership group for this opportunity,” said Clarke. “I look forward to the challenge of putting my own spin on things, but continuing the winning tradition here in Knoxville.”

“I enjoyed my time here as an Assistant Coach. Everything here is first class and I can’t wait to drop the puck come October in front of the best fans in the SPHL.”

He also coached the Elmira Enforcers of the FPHL, where he guided them to the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup finals.

“We’re flattered by the amount of interest we received for our organization’s head coaching role,” said Murray. “We had some highly qualified candidates and in the end, we believe Brent is the right fit for our organization who has a nice blend of head coaching success and experience with our organization and our league.”

Clarke spent five seasons in the SPHL as a player where he won the President’s Cup with Pensacola in 2013. He also appeared in 167 combined games across the IHL, CHL and ECHL, as well as 71 games in the FPHL.

“I want another cup,” he said.

He’ll take over a team that won their first regular season title since 2009 last year and recorded a league-record 42 regular season wins. The Ice Bears are the only team to make the SPHL playoffs every single year since the league was founded in 2002.

Knoxville will host its Free Agent Camp on Oct. 7-8, followed by a preseason camp. A banner commemorating the record-setting 2021-2022 season will be unveiled during its opening night on Friday, Oct. 21.