September 24, 2017

Where are they now? Chad Carson: Entrepreneur, coaching success and traveling the world

Photo courtesy of Chad Carson

Chad Carson grew up in Newnan, Georgia with a childhood dream of playing college football. Carson achieved that dream by earning a scholarship to Clemson where he starred from 1998-2001, was a 2-year defensive captain and the epitome of a student athlete. 

Academic All American, Rhodes Scholar candidate, 3.93 GPA in Biology, 4th on the all-time Clemson tackle list (448), fierce competitor on the football field that cherished his time at Clemson, entrepreneur, life and business coach and all around good guy – that sums up Chad Carson.

Carson took a few minutes out of his (very) busy schedule to chat with Seldom Used Reserve about his time at Clemson, the Tigers recent National Championship and what he’s up to these days.

SUR: How did a guy from Newnan, Georgia end up at Clemson?

CC: I fell in love with Clemson once I came up to visit. The amazing fans, the atmosphere, the small-town setting, the orange and purple sunsets over the lake and foothills – what’s not to like?!

I did not play a lot of linebacker in high school (I was a running back), so I only had a few D1-A schools offer me scholarships. Reggie Herring, my linebacker coach, took a chance on me, and I was happy to take advantage of the opportunity. 

SUR: What do you remember most about your time at Clemson, whether it be football or just college life in general?

CC: I remember being busy! I sort of lived dual lives. I majored in Biology, so I’d have one mindset during the morning when I’d do experiments in a lab. I’d then go to interviews with the media while I ate lunch. And then I’d go to watch film, do position meetings, and bang heads in practice for a few hours.  Then after practice you’d get home from the training room and meals about 8 and have to start studying or do homework. I’m not sure how it all got done!  But I enjoyed both the academic and the sports side of my experience and wouldn’t have it any other way.

SUR: What’s your favorite memory about playing football at Clemson?

CC: I used to love the rush of getting the crowd into the game as a defensive player by raising your hands or pointing to the crowd. Defensive players are more connected with the fans, I find, because we feed off one another.

In addition to games, I also remember loving the grind of being a football player. The summer workouts with Coach Batson and company were hard, but it was rewarding in a strange way. You knew you were doing something difficult that few other people could or would do. There was a camaraderie and enjoyment in becoming your best and helping your teammates become their best. Those were and are satisfying to this day. 

SUR: It’s been 15+ years since you last played at Clemson, are you able to keep up with Clemson football and how does it feel as a former player to see the Tigers win the National Championship?

CC: Seeing us win the National Championship was an emotional, happy experience for me. It’s been a long-time coming for Clemson fans. And I couldn’t be more proud of the players, coaches, and supporting staff. Having been on the inside, I can appreciate how incredibly difficult it is to earn a championship.

But as proud as I am of our on-the-field accomplishment, I brag almost daily about HOW Dabo and his staff are winning.  I always send the Wall Street Journal article showing us, Stanford, and UCLA as the exemplary teams winning both on the field and off the field by graduating our players and helping them become successful adults. A national championship is rare, but a National Championship + the amazing work their doing to build men of character … Wow. Rarer than rare.  We should all be proud.

SUR:  Are you still in contact with any of your former teammates or coaches?

CC: I keep up with some of my teammates through Facebook, but I keep up with my roommate and former linebacker/safety Altroy Bodrick the most. He lives down in Blythewood, SC with his family. He’s actually refereeing football games now, so you may seem him on Saturday’s back in Death Valley one of these days!  I used to play pick-up basketball with Dabo and some of the other coaches, but I’ve fallen off lately.

I also text my former teammates Tony Elliott, Jeff Scott, and Brandon Streeter from time to time to congratulate them. Jeff and I actually roomed together one summer, and I was his recruiting host when we came on his official visit.

SUR: I came across your name on a non-sports related podcast, which totally surprised and intrigued me.  What are you doing professionally these days?

CC: I’m an entrepreneur at heart. Entrepreneurship is sort of like football because you have to work hard, take risks, and build a team around you. A business partner and I began a real estate investment business in Clemson soon after I graduated in 2002, and that’s worked out pretty well (although we’ve had some ups and downs – sort of like football too!).

I was on a podcast because my bigger passion is writing and teaching others about real estate, entrepreneurship, and life over at coachcarson.com.  The economy has changed a lot, and people have to look out for themselves financially.  So, I like to help people become more financially independent by providing education and inspiration.  Sometimes I teach how to flip a house on the side, sometimes how to buy a rental property, and other times how to get your mindset right in order to be successful in general. I write a weekly newsletter that people who are interested can subscribe to at coachcarson.com/newsletter.

SUR: In our first discussion you mentioned recently relocating with your family. Tell the Clemson Nation where the Carson’s are and what you’re up to these days.

CC:  My wife, 2 young kids, and I are living for 1 year in Ecuador in South America. My wife and I love to travel, learn new languages, and explore new cultures, so we wanted a little of that to rub off on our daughters. We’re renting an apartment here in Cuenca, Ecuador, enrolling our girls in local schools, and living like locals for a while (even eating some roasted guinea pig, a local favorite!). But we love our home and friends in Clemson and plan to come back.

SUR is very grateful to Chad for taking time to chat with us and allow us to share his story with our readers. If you want to connect with Chad, his home on the web is CoachCarson.com.  He’d love for you to come visit to say hello.

If you know of a former Tiger who is interested in re-connecting with the Clemson Nation, please contact us.

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