But now, for the first time in 25 years, the main sports presence at Channel 7 is different.
That face belongs to Rob Powers, who made the transition easy for viewers.
“Scott was Scott, and I’ll never be able to get up to that level, and the goal right now is to try. That’s all I can try to do right now,” Powers says.
Prior to passing the baton, Powers did get some advice from his mentor.
“You will find your way and the viewers will find you. Take it slow. Don’t do anything right away,” Powers recalls Clark telling him.
So for now, Powers is keeping it simple as viewers gets familiarized with him.
“Even my kids have asked me [if I'm] going to do the ‘Hilight Zone?’ I’m not,” Powers says. “In time, we will come up with something that fits what I do.”
As they say, timing is everything. Powers was hired as a weekend sports anchor in October 2009, after many years as sports director at the ABC owned Toledo, Ohio TV station. He joined WABC before Clark began his “long goodbye.”
Powers says learning from him over the years was special enough, but “to be able to work with him was ‘out of this world’ sometimes.” (A reference to another of Clark’s famous segments.)
The new nighttime sports anchor says his staffers are great to work with. Powers also says it’s a pleasure to be a part of the Eyewitness News team.
“It doesn’t get any better than that. That is the gold standard,” Powers admits. “Sometimes my wife and I will watch the rebroadcast at 2:30 in the morning and just say, ‘Wow! Can you believe that? I’m sitting up there with them.’”
While pleased to get the promotion, it was bittersweet for Powers, who wished he had more time with the legendary sportscaster.
“I wanted to work with him a lot longer than this …I was looking forward to continuing our relationship.”
(Powers tells FishbowlNY there was no stipulation in his contract that he was hired to eventually replace Clark.)
But by last June, the longtime sports anchor was ready to retire, calling it career on January 3.
For Powers, 44, despite more than 20 years in the business, his experience could only take him so far for that role.
“Not easy, I’ll tell you that,” Powers admits. “I’m just going into it like I’m not replacing Scott. I’m just kind of being myself.”
At this point, Powers can only hope to reach Clark’s success one day.
For the moment, though, Powers is just staying under the radar doing his sportscasts, never forgetting that he has big shoes to fill.
“They gave me a pair of size 22 Nike basketball shoes, that Scotty signed for me… They hang in the sports office,” Powers laughed.