Since beginning her current post in 1989, Norma Carr has overseen the construction of the softball and baseball diamonds, the Lifetime Activities Center and has helped grow some of the Bruins teams into nationally-respected programs.
Most importantly, Carr has helped to create equality between men’s and women’s sports.
When Carr came to SLCC, she was the only female athletic director in the state of Utah and still is the only one to this day. Throughout the 1990s, Carr worked to create equality in the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. Back then, the men’s tournament was held in one location while the women’s tournament was held in another. Faculty, the administration and anyone wanting to support SLCC had to choose which team they wanted to see more.
“The question in my mind was, ‘Why are we holding two tournaments at separate locations?’” Carr said. “How do you build fan support when everyone has to choose?”
On top of that, the men’s basketball team had a fund which was created to help offset the cost of traveling while the women had to pay for most, if not all, of the expenses they incurred. At an annual meeting of school presidents and athletic directors, the issue of money being spent on men’s and women’s sports was brought up.
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“At the end of that meeting, I’ll always remember this, they [the school presidents] finally said ‘You get rid of this fund and you start treating your women the same way you treat your men,’” Carr said.
That one meeting was all the momentum Carr needed to help work towards her goal of equality for men’s and women’s athletics not only at SLCC, but also at the National Junior College Athletic Association.
What Carr has helped to accomplish in the area of men’s and women’s equality in sports is more than some athletic directors will accomplish in their entire tenure at a school, but Carr kept working and looking towards the future. Where the Markosian Library currently stands was once the softball diamond and some cracked, overrun tennis courts with weeds growing on them. The school received money from a donor to replace them and move them to where they currently stand, but not without opposition.
“We decided it would be smart to build more than two tennis courts and build the softball diamond to take on an intercollegiate team, so we did,” Carr said. “I got money donated for a scoreboard and for two years, I couldn’t put up that scoreboard for fear of the image it would portray. Had a male A.D. (athletic director) done the same thing no one would have questioned it.”
Under Carr’s watch as the athletic director, Salt Lake Community College achieved great success, including the 2009 NJCAA men’s basketball championship.