Athletic director to enter phased retirement

Charlie Carr, athlectic director, and Suzanne Shipley, Midwestern State University president, throw up the "stang sign" while the band prefoms the alma mater during the end of Eastern New Mexico University vs. MSU game at AT&T Stadium, Sept. 19. Photo by Francisco Martinez

Charlie Carr, athletic director, and Suzanne Shipley, univrsity president, throw up the “stang sign” while the band performs the alma mater during the end of Eastern New Mexico University vs. MSU game at AT&T Stadium, Sept. 19. Photo by Francisco Martinez

University President Suzanne Shipley announced the phased retirement of Athletic Director Charlie Carr earlier today. Carr spoke about phasing into retirement in a telephone interview this afternoon.

“It was time. I was ready to do it,” Carr said.

Carr looks forward to spending time working with the student athletes in a way he didn’t have time for, before now, like with the Mustangs 360 program. Mustangs 360 program is a program that teaches athletes life skills before graduation.

“I’ll be here through the rest of the academic year, doing some things I’ve been wanting to do for the program that I haven’t had time to do. Some life skills things for our student athletes. We’re just so close to having something special in that area, and I want to pursue that,” said Carr.

He also wants to use this transition to pass on his work to Kyle Williams, assistant athletic director.

“I want to give a chance for one of our serving staff members to step into the role, Kyle Williams. It’s the perfect time. It couldn’t be better.”

Carr believes Williams has what it takes to step in and carry on what he has brought to athletics over the past 10 years.

Carr said, “He’s the kind of person that has similar values that will keep things going, hopefully, that I would keep myself.”

According to Carr, Williams will be applying for the athletic director position when the time comes.

“He went to school here. He’s a former basketball player. He loves this place. It’s a great opportunity for him,” said Carr.

Carr said that in his case making changes and moving on is bittersweet, but knowing that Williams will take his place makes the situation very special to him.

Carr put less focus on his own legacy than the athletic department’s, and focused on what they have done together as a team.

“I’m not sure I’ve done anything that is worth a legacy, but I think we’ve all together, not just me, instilled a fabric of student athlete first. Do what’s best for the kids. We have certainly perpetuated, not myself, but the coaches and players, a winning tradition that has kept Midwestern in the right place. It’s really nothing to do with me. Sometimes, if you can keep the car between the ditches, you get where you want to go,” Carr said

WHAT OTHERS SAID ABOUT CARR

Charlie Carr has 30 years of experience in athletics. He started out as an assistant football coach in 1971, and in 1978 he started his administrative career at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He moved to Wichita Falls in Oct. 2007 after a 12 year run as senior associate athletic director at Florida State. Here are some things people had to say about Charlie Carr.

Jerryl Yarbrough, senior accounting and finance major, wide receiver

“He prides himself in doing the best of his abilities for the athletes. He gives great advice and visits often.”

Kyle Williams, assistant athletic director and interim athletic director

“Charlie’s legacy is certainly going to be his leadership. We have good coaches here, and he is certainly a part of every coach we have. Being able to put everyone in the right positions and right spots is very key, and Charlie’s been able to do that.”

“Our life skills program, I know he is very proud of.”

“His caring for the student athlete is evident. You can see that in the hallways, you can see that in the office, you can see that at ball games. He loves the student athletes.”

“To make a difference in a student athlete’s life, or a student’s life, is important and it’s what we do.”

“He set it all up and he is going to be maintaining the topics that we get out there to our student athletes, and making sure they’re all accountable to these topics. He’ll possibly be working through some classroom responsibilities as well.”

“I would love an opportunity to apply for the position when the time comes. My challenge is to ensure that we continue to do what this great university has done.”

“This is not a broken situation. I’m trying to just keep the legacy going, and to make sure we continue to do what we’re here to do. We do win here at this university. At the same time, our main responsibility is for the student athlete, to make sure they know what they are doing going forward.”

“We need to continue to make sure that we’ve put our kids in a position to not only win on the field or the court, but in the classroom as well.”

“I look forward to the things to come at this university.”

Darren Paige, wide receiver coach

“We have some programs in place for the student athletes for life skills, and that’s one thing that is really important to me. He has allowed me to get some skills and training in that area. That is something, prior to working at MSU, that I never had that opportunity.”

“He has really helped me out as a coach and as a professor. He is a tremendous guy.”

“He’s always had an open door policy, always willing to listen to what we’ve had to say about student athletes and different ways that we can help make there experiences the best they can be.”

“He has always been able to help us do what is necessary to make sure they’re successful on the field, in the classroom, socially, along with the life skills, and successful after college.”

“He will definitely be missed. I’ll miss talking to him, his smile, and him being around, especially in the highs and the lows that we’ve had.” 

Liz Cathcart, marketing freshman and basketball player

“He’s seen as a caring father figure.”

“He was a big part in convincing me that this was the place. Ever since then, he would see me in the hallway and know my name, and I was like, ‘wow he actually cares.’ He really is a genuine, good guy.”

Rich Renner, linebacker coach

What he’s done a great job of on his watch, with the help of Jesse Rodgers, is he’s improved the facilities, he’s improved the locker rooms, the practice fields. He has made our job much easier than it was before he got here. 

He has promoted a championship atmosphere here at Midwestern State. You look at the success we’ve had in all of our programs under his leadership, and again you say, ‘yeah well we’ve got great head coaches.’ Well he hires those great head coaches.”

“He’s created an atmosphere of family. Therefore there is not bickering between one coach here and one there. We’re all pushing for each other, we all have each other’s backs. He created that.”

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT MEMO

In an electronic memo sent out Thursday at 11:37 a.m., University President Suzanne Shipley said:

“I want to let you know of some administrative changes that will take place in Athletics during the coming months.  Mr. Charlie Carr will complete ten outstanding years of service to Midwestern State University at the end of the 2017 year and has indicated his interest in phasing into retirement with some work in areas near and dear to him. We’ve engaged in significant discussion over the past months to determine how this transition can best progress.  During the 2017 spring and summer, Charlie will assist me with developing the groundwork for our upcoming comprehensive campaign as it relates to athletics. The work that Charlie does to create a case for the athletics side of the comprehensive campaign will be important for our future work in Athletics.  Charlie will also work with Reagan Foster to establish and teach the Mustangs 360 program for our student-athletes in the spring semester.

“We are grateful to Charlie for his strong leadership of the Department of Athletics. The competitive advantage enjoyed by our teams and student-athletes on the field and in the classroom is due in great measure to his effective leadership. 

“Effective January 1, I have asked Kyle Williams to serve as Interim Director of Athletics for one year.  Kyle joined MSU as Director of Corporate and Sports Development in 2007 and has served as Associate Athletic Director of Development since 2010.  It is likely that either the Director of Athletics or the Associate Director will be required to increase our emphasis on fundraising for athletics programs and facilities during the duration of the campaign, so the selection of future leadership staffing will interface not only with our high expectations for athletic competition but also with campaign goals and strategies.” 

Charlie Carr

Jenee Gholson stands with now-retired University President Jesse Rogers and athletic director Charlie Carr at half-court during the ceremony that honored her husband Nick Gholson, Time Record News sports reporter, during the game against Eastern New Mexico University Jan. 11 in D.L. Ligon Colisuem.
Jenee Gholson stands with now-retired University President Jesse Rogers and athletic director Charlie Carr at half-court during the ceremony that honored her husband Nick Gholson, Time Record News sports reporter, during the game against Eastern New Mexico University Jan. 11 in D.L. Ligon Colisuem.
Athletic Director Charlie Carr and now-retired University President Jesse Rogers recognized Marie Morgan for Meritorius Service as the namesake of the outstanding student athlete and a lifetime contributor of the MWSU athletic program at the homecoming game, Oct. 25, 2015. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Athletic Director Charlie Carr and now-retired University President Jesse Rogers recognized Marie Morgan for Meritorius Service as the namesake of the outstanding student athlete and a lifetime contributor of the MWSU athletic program at the homecoming game, Oct. 25, 2015. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Athletic Director Charlie Carr introduces Brenna Moore, nursing senior, and Jeff Ray, golf coach, at a press conference with Moore discussing her national championship in golf, the first national NCAA championship won by a Midwestern State University athlete. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Athletic Director Charlie Carr introduces Brenna Moore, nursing senior, and Jeff Ray, golf coach, at a press conference with Moore discussing her national championship in golf, the first national NCAA championship won by a Midwestern State University athlete. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Now retired University President Jesse Rogers hangs out with Charlie Carr, athletic director, in the press box at Memorial Stadium during the opening game of the season, Sept 5. Rogers goes on to talk about his most recent fishing trip since being retired. Also how good the band was sounding tonight and how much bigger the student section has gotten. Midwestern State beat Truman State University 31-3. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Now retired University President Jesse Rogers hangs out with Charlie Carr, athletic director, in the press box at Memorial Stadium during the opening game of the season, Sept 5. Rogers goes on to talk about his most recent fishing trip since being retired. Also how good the band was sounding tonight and how much bigger the student section has gotten. Midwestern State beat Truman State University 31-3. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Charlie Carr, athletic director, and Suzanne Shipley, University president, throw up the "stang sign" while the band performs the alma mater during the end of Eastern New Mexico University vs. MSU game at AT&T Stadium, Sept. 19. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Charlie Carr, athletic director, and Suzanne Shipley, University president, throw up the "stang sign" while the band performs the alma mater during the end of Eastern New Mexico University vs. MSU game at AT&T Stadium, Sept. 19. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Athletic Director Charlie Carr and University President Suzanne Shipley present Gary and Becky Morrison with Midwestern State University Annual Letterman's Award at the Homecoming football game. 29th Oct. Photo by Bridget Reilly
Athletic Director Charlie Carr and University President Suzanne Shipley present Gary and Becky Morrison with Midwestern State University Annual Letterman's Award at the Homecoming football game. 29th Oct. Photo by Bridget Reilly