Serra High School Strength and Conditioning Coach Brian Carson was inducted into the Burlingame High School Hall of Fame on November 10. He was honored for his basketball and baseball accomplishments at his alma mater, as well as his college and professional basketball achievements.
“I was shocked and humbled,” said Carson, who graduated from Burlingame High in 1992.
Carson comes from a family of athletes. His sister, Christy, is a triathlete. His mom, Sandy, was a volleyball coach. His brother, Craig, coached basketball at McAteer High School at Menlo Atherton. Carson’s dad, Mike, coached at Galileo High School and McAteer High School. In addition, he was inducted into both the Riordan Hall of Fame and the San Francisco State Hall of Fame.
“My dad had a huge influence on me – he was my idol,” Carson remembered. “I’m a sports junkie, and most of my family and friends are as well,” Carson admitted.
Carson was a tenacious competitor when he was a middle-schooler at Burlingame Intermediate School. Interestingly, he remembers playing against Serra Athletic Director Dean Ayoob when he was in seventh grade. The Taylor Middle School team was winning against BIS, with four seconds left in the game…until Carson made both free throws. Little did they know they would be working together two decades later!
After high school, Carson played two years of basketball at Canada College, a year at Fresno State and a year at Sonoma State before playing for two years in the International Basketball League, representing the West Coast.
His coaching experience includes stints at McAteer High School, Chico State University and College of the Siskiyous. Carson has worked at Serra for seven years and has been the strength and conditioning coach for four. He usually can be found in the weight room, training Padre student-athletes from all 14 teams. Carson manages an extremely busy schedule. Described as “patient and understanding” by Padre athletes, Carson is a compassionate mentor who helps teenagers to believe in themselves. He talks to students about their work ethic and about being mentally prepared. He fosters a “can do” attitude with Padre athletes, as he teaches them how accomplish their goals.
“It’s amazing what the mind can do,” Carson explained. “There’s a lot of psychology involved in sports, and I’m a proponent of positive thinking. Our Padre athletes are like sponges – they are at a very influential point. They want to learn new techniques and are open to new ideas. There’s a lot of pressure to do well today. Student-athletes also have a lot of distractions today, such as Facebook and Twitter. My job is to help them to stay focused on their team. I tell them, ‘You’re not playing for your own spotlight, you’re playing for your team. The student-athletes at Serra are respectful, and we’re blessed with wonderful coaches.’”
Jeff Dalli ’15 was ranked number one in the nation this year for fencing. He said Carson has been instrumental in mapping out a plan to achieve his goals.
“It’s really great that he’s never too busy for anyone,” Dalli noted. “He’s always willing to assist anyone who needs it. He encourages us to push harder, work harder and to be our best. He does it in a way that’s very calm. He never pushes us too hard – he’s always positive and encouraging.”
As the fitness world is ever-changing, Carson makes sure to stay one step ahead on new exercise programs and workouts. He currently includes CrossFit, Olympic lifting, power-lifting and plyometrics to keep workouts fresh and never boring.
“We’re seeing the results,” he said. “I wouldn’t put them through something I haven’t done myself. I also tailor workouts to different kids in the beginning. The most rewarding thing for me is to see the change in teenagers. They come in shy, timid and very green. Then you see them a year later – so confident and believing in themselves.
In addition to working as a substitute teacher and the strength and conditioning coach, Carson is the assistant varsity basketball coach.
“It’s good for me to interact with kids in a different environment,” he said. “I do what they do. If they’re running in the hills, I’m up there running with them.”
“I’m so proud of Brian, both as a friend and a colleague,” Ayoob said. “This is a tremendous honor for him. I remember going to his BHS games when we were in high school and you could tell he loved to play. His passion and love for sports is very noticeable to the athletes he works with here at Serra.”