Roosevelt University Basketball Programs Feature A Rare NFL Link

By Justin Breen on December 16, 2013 8:06am 

SOUTH LOOP — Roosevelt University has 30 student-athletes on its men's and women's basketball team.

Two of them — senior Tori Clark and freshman Dominic Dixon — share an unusual bond: Their fathers played in the National Football League.

"I've never had a friend or teammate or anyone in a sports program I've been in who's been a child of a professional athlete, until now," Dixon said.

"Me neither," Clark replied.

Clark's father, Randy, was drafted by the Bears and played center for the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons from 1980-88. Dixon's dad, also named Randy, was a guard for the Indianapolis Colts from 1987-95.

"That is kind of unique," Randy Clark said of the NFL connection at Roosevelt. "It says a lot about the school, with the kind of athletes they're bringing in, and it says a lot about the city of Chicago."

Tori Clark, a 5-foot-10 guard, was one of the first players to commit to Roosevelt, which started its basketball programs four years ago. She helped lead the Lakers to the NAIA national tournament last season and hopes to do the same in her final campaign. After graduation, the Roselle, Ill., native wants to become a sports broadcaster.

"Something that keeps me in the action still," said Clark, who is averaging 11.2 points per game for her 9-4 squad.

Dominic Dixon chose Roosevelt because he wanted to leave his home state of Indiana and fell in love with Chicago during his recruiting trip. The 6-foot-8 center, who is averaging 3.0 points per game for the 10-2 Lakers, already has a good part of his future mapped out, which includes helping his father run the four Wendy's restaurants he owns.

"It's really hard work, and he's shown interest in it," Randy Dixon said.

Clark's parents come to almost every Roosevelt game, home and away, while Dixon's mother and father, who live just north of Indianapolis, try to make tilts at the Goodman Center.

 Roosevelt University women's basketball player Tori Clark poses with her parents, Paula and Randy, after the Lakers won last season's conference title. Randy Clark played in the NFL for several years.
Roosevelt University women's basketball player Tori Clark poses with her parents, Paula and Randy, after the Lakers won last season's conference title. Randy Clark played in the NFL for several years.
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Randy Clark

Both Lakers said their dads inspired them to play sports.

Dominic Dixon participated in football and basketball until sophomore year of high school, when he focused only on hoops. Randy Dixon said "it was just a natural sport for him to do because, with Indiana being such a basketball state, pretty much every house has a basketball hoop in the front yard."

It didn't hurt that Dominic's mother, Patricia, was a standout basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh.

Randy Clark coached his daughter in basketball and softball, and she also starred in volleyball, where she won a National Spirit of Sport Award as a Lake Park High School senior.

"We always talked about sports in general and the mental part of it," Randy Clark said. "She was a coachable kid."

Even though their careers slightly overlapped, Randy Clark never played against Randy Dixon.

But Clark said it's neat their children have such a distinct link.

"It's a pretty rare situation," he said.

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