Michael E. Clark was a beloved coach in the Fulton Youth Basketball League.
When he died suddenly and unexpectedly in December, boys in Fulton, other coaches and Clark’s family were devastated.
Now, Clark’s sister, Nancy Clark of Williamsville, near Buffalo, wants to remember her brother by helping the place where he spent so much time.
Nancy has started a fund drive through gofundme.com to raise money to help pay for a new gym floor at the Fulton War Memorial.
The gym is home to the Fulton Youth Basketball League and its nearly 400 children in grades kindergarten through six who are learning the game.
“He loved the boys on the basketball team,” Nancy said of her brother, who was the assistant coach for the grade five and six team.
“My grandson is on that team and he really looked up to his Uncle Mike.”
Clark, 55, of Liverpool, was Christmas shopping Dec. 18 when he died of a sudden heart attack.
Nancy said she was extremely close to her brother, texting or talking to each other “four or five times a day.”
In fact, the day he died, he texted her at 4 p.m. He died about four hours later.
“He was very sports-oriented and worked the drills with the kids,” said Chris Atwater, Nancy’s son-in-law and coach of the boys’ grades five and six team.
“He also would coach the kids on the bench. He enjoyed the kids. He was attentive to them and would even go to other events for them,” Atwater said.
Clark spent time “on the side” working with team member Justin Atwater, Chris Atwater’s son.
“The boys were upset when he died,” Atwater said of Clark. “At our game on Dec. 21, Mike’s father had come up and we dedicated the game to Mike
and had a photo taken of the team and Mike’s father.”
Jerry Schremp, head of the Fulton Youth Basketball Program, said the rubber gym floor at the Fulton War Memorial is 18 years old (eight years past its prime) and starting to bubble.
“The rubber is breaking down,” he said. “It’s not dangerous, but has to be replaced.”
Schremp said it will cost about $100,000 to replace the floor.
Atwater said the game score clocks also need replacement.
Schremp found out it will cost more to replace the broken parts than to buy new clocks.
The money raised by Nancy may go toward the clocks.
“This is my mission,” Nancy said. “This is big for my mother, big for my sister, big for all of us.”
Her goal is to raise $5,000. As of Wednesday, the site had raised nearly $500.
To donate, go to
Click on the blue donate box.
You also can click on Facebook to share the page with others to gather more donations.