Although 25 years is a long time for any one person to be with a program, it also means 25 years of building lifelong friends and family. Salt Lake Community College’s Athletic Director, Norma Carr, retires to pursue a life that is not solely scheduled around her career work.
“The most enjoyable thing is going to be my memories of people – former athletes – this is what makes the job hard to leave. My colleagues here – they’re like family and that is what I’m going to take away with me,” says Carr.
Women have been fighting for rights and equality for decades now. Some fight from the back and others lead from up front, and some stand by and watch the struggle, while others do the unexpected.
Carr happens to fall under the category of the unexpected as she broke through, jumped over and fought her way around every barrier and obstacle that was set in her path. Her list of achievements and the many fields she has dabbled into are proof that she is a sports icon in the state of Utah.
“I always approached it for challenges for myself,” says Carr.
Some people find it extremely hard to balance class and a job, or class and one sport, but for Carr, graduating from BYU as a five sport athlete was just another day.
Carr also attended the University of Utah where she received her master’s degree while also coaching volleyball, basketball and softball within a 14-year time span. Within those 14 years Carr was named “Coach of the Year” five times.
She had a run at Davis High School where she did some light coaching as well.
The list doesn’t stop there, she was also the first female official to call a boys’ high school game in the state of Utah.
“In terms of officiating boys’ high school basketball, it was to see if I could meet the challenge and see what and how it challenged me in my own performance and my own game,” says Carr. “Every time I stepped on the floor I was really challenged by the coaches, by the fans, because nobody was used to seeing a woman officiating a boys’ game.”
Carr made her way around the Salt Lake valley, leaving footsteps as she made her rounds, and landing gracefully on the Redwood Campus of Salt Lake Community College, where she would leave a lasting imprint and change the face of athletics forever.
“When I moved here in this position, for the first ten years I was severely challenged with people challenging responsible decisions that any male [Athletic Director] would make, but they would challenge me and constantly it was a pressure,” says Carr.
Becoming a member of the Bruin family in 1989, Carr has done the unthinkable, as she jumped into the pilot seat and steered the entire athletic program to great heights.
Initially SLCC only anchored two sports; men’s and women’s basketball. It didn’t take long for Carr to change that into a five-sport program.
Carr also helped make it possible for what is known as the Lifetime Activity Center (LAC) to be built in a state-of-the-art structure and now comfortable home for the Bruin Arena.
SLCC athletics have won multiple awards and championships and can largely thank Carr for leading the way.
In 2009, SLCC won their first national championship for men’s basketball, and in that same year, Carr was named National Administrator of the Year.
“I think I was lucky at a very young age. I knew I wanted to teach and coach – for some reason it was in my genes and I had a certain desire. It was an innate desire within myself,” says Carr.
Carr has become a household name in Utah and many are going to miss her presence and contagious attitude. She leaves with some words of advice for anybody pursuing success.
“Anything in the world relates to sports – sports is just like life. Dream a dream and then go live it. Don’t worry about what if, or if you’re good enough. Find a way to be good enough. Find a way to be successful. Find something that you like and have a passion for, then pursue it and do your best,” says Carr.