South Bay sports community reflects on Dwight Clark's passing

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Members of the South Bay sports community are reacting for the passing of 49ers great Dwight Clark. The two-time Super Bowl champion died yesterday at his home in Whitefish, Montana, after battling ALS in recent years.

At the SAP Performance Facility in Santa Clara, 49ers coaches wore shirts from last year's 'Dwight Clark Day' to honor the man that meant so much.

"You knew when he got sick how big of a challenge this was going to be, and then when you hear something about that, it's just a reminder of life, and how you can't take time for granted," said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

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Known as the man who made 'The Catch,' Clark caught the winning touchdown reception in the 1981 NFC Championship against the Cowboys, but many say there was more to him than just football.

"The greatest catch was what he did for the Bay Area," said John Poch, executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority. "He was so giving of his time, and his personality, and it's just an incredible loss for our community."

San Jose State University head football coach Brent Brennan says today's college and professional athletes could learn a lot from how Clark conducted himself off the field.

"He was just this incredibly gracious guy," said Brennan. "He's just one of those guys that everyone wants to be around, and when you talked to him, he made you feel like the most important person in the world.

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One of Clark's final meet-and-greet events with fans was at San Jose's World of Sports last October. Founder and CEO, Tito Hernandez, was there and said the love Clark had for his fans was evident.

"Great role model for a lot of people, and I think fans miss that, all of us, we miss knowing someone like him, who can get along with everybody, and that was Dwight Clark," said Hernandez.

Team officials say they will find a 'fitting' way to honor Clark throughout the upcoming season.

Hundreds of fans have already signed a petition asking the 49ers to erect a statue of Clark at Levi's Stadium.

Full coverage on the 49ers here.

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