The Scot is finally making his first steps as a fully-fledged head coach after establishing himself as one of the game's leading coaches over the last 14 years.
Mourinho, who appointed Clarke as his assistant during his time at Chelsea, has long insisted the Scot has what it takes to be a manager himself and Clarke admits even he has been surprised that it has taken this long.
The former Scotland international, who left Liverpool earlier this month after Dalglish's sacking, said: "Obviously when I left Chelsea in 2008 it was with the ambition to become a manager or head coach in my own right.
"I could have stayed at Chelsea for as long as I wanted and been as comfortable as I wanted but I decided to get out of my comfort zone.
"To be honest I thought this position, or this appointment, would have come about a little bit sooner. Circumstances dictated that it didn't.
"Obviously losing my job at Liverpool in the summer was disappointing but then very quickly this opportunity came up to talk to West Brom.
"I was really impressed with what they had to say and it just feels like the right appointment at the right time for me."
Clarke has vowed to try to play attacking football at the Hawthorns built on solid defensive foundations and while he acknowledges he will utilise lessons learned under the likes of Mourinho, Robson and Dalglish, he will be his own man.
"You work with good people and if you don't take the best from each of those you work with then you make yourself look a little bit stupid," he said.
"So, hopefully I've taken all the good bits. I can't be anyone else. I can't be a Mourinho personality, or be like Kenny Dalglish or Sir Bobby Robson. I'll just be me.
"I'll take all those good bits and I'll be Steve Clarke. Hopefully that will be enough to be a successful coach."
Clarke revealed he spoke to old Chelsea team-mate and former West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo about Albion before taking the job, while Mourinho has also been in touch.
"When I knew I had a chance of getting the job here, I spoke to Roberto about the club," he said. "He had really good things to say about Albion and the people at the club, so it's been helpful to speak to him.
"I've had a text message from Jose - he's on holiday just now, so I don't want to disturb his holidays."
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Next season's Barclays Premier League fixtures were released on Monday and Clarke was happy to be paired with former employers Liverpool at home on the opening day.
"I was delighted to get Liverpool first game," he said.
"I've got nothing but good memories from my time at Liverpool so to face them in the first game, here at the Hawthorns, will be fantastic.
"It takes a lot to get me really excited but this morning I was excited."