American Football Wiki
Dwight Clark
Personal Information
Wide receiver
Jersey #(s)
Born January 8, 1957
Kinston, North Carolina
Died June 4, 2018
Whitefish, Montana
Career information
Year(s) 19791987
NFL Draft 1979 / Round: 10 / Pick: 1
College Clemson
Professional teams
Career stats
Receptions 506
Receiving Yards 6,750
Touchdowns 48
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Dwight Edward Clark (January 8, 1957 – June 4, 2018) was an American Pro Bowl wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1987. He played college football at Clemson University[1] before being drafted by the 49ers in the 10th round of the 1979 entry draft.[2]


Arrival at the 49ers[]

In 1979, the head coach of the 49ers, Bill Walsh, went to Clemson to evaluate that school's promising quarterback, Steve Fuller. While there, Walsh discovered Clark. According to a story Clark shared while being interviewed on WDNC radio on July 31, 2007, Walsh had called the number for the dormitory room where Fuller and Clark were living, hoping to reach Fuller. Instead, Clark, who was on his way out to play golf, answered the phone. Upon learning that Fuller was not in, Walsh asked Clark to identify himself, and invited Clark to run routes for Fuller so Walsh could watch Fuller more closely.

NFL career[]

Bill Walsh drafted Dwight Clark as the first pick of the 10th round of the 1979 NFL draft. Clark embarked on a stellar career for 49ers in which he had 506 catches for 6750 yards and 48 touchdowns, along with 50 rushing yards. He led the NFL in receptions (60) during the strike-shortened 1982 season, and made the Pro Bowl twice in 1981 and 1982 in his 9 NFL seasons.[3]

After Walsh drafted Clark, he made Clark and quarterback Joe Montana practice a certain 20-yard roll-out "Hail Mary" pass into the end zone at the end of every practice. Walsh wanted to make sure that they could complete that certain pass in the red zone.

"The Catch"[]

Clark's most memorable touchdown came in the 1982 NFC Playoffs. On January 10, 1982, against the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers were trailing 27–21 in the final minute of play to advance to the Super Bowl. Clark leaped and caught a six-yard pass from quarterback Joe Montana in the back of the end zone to give the 49ers a 28–27 victory. That play, one of the most famous in the history in the NFL, has been immortalized as "The Catch" practiced as the "Hail Mary." Clark finished the game with eight receptions for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns.

During the 1981 season, Coach Walsh had Montana and Clark routinely practice the 20-yard end-zone throw after regular practice.

Retirement and Legacy[]

After nine successful seasons with San Francisco 49ers, Dwight Clark retired after 1987 NFL season. Clark was a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams. To honor Clark's contribution to 49ers, the club retired his number 87. After retirement, he has served as a team executive for both the 49ers and the Cleveland Browns.

Clark has also appeared in the video game, All-Pro Football 2K8.

Personal life[]

After retiring he resided in Santa Cruz, California with his wife, Kelly. They later moved to a ranch in Montana.

On March 19, 2017, Clark announced that he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.[3][4] Clark died of the disease on June 4, 2018.


External links[]