When Ray Dawson announced his retirement as Burris athletic director, he urged Brian Carr to apply to be his successor. He thought Carr’s familiarity with the school would make him a good fit for the position.
That vision will become a reality, as Carr recently accepted the job. He has spent the past 16 years as a physical education and health teacher at the school, with 15 of those years spent as head coach of one of the school’s basketball teams. He is also a Burris alum.
“He’s a Burris person,” Dawson said. “He’s been around Burris all of his life. He knows how things operate there, having coached for us.”
Carr, who played at Burris from 1979-83 before playing college basketball at Nebraska, went 153-150 in 14 seasons as Burris’ boys basketball coach. His teams won two sectional titles, in 2002 and 2003. The 2002 team broke a 55-year sectional title drought for the school. He resigned that position following the 2010-11 season.
He returned to coaching basketball for the Owls in the 2012-13 season, this time leading the girls team. He went 4-17 in his only season with that squad. Carr said he will be giving up coaching the girls team to focus on his new position as athletic director.
“It’s a new chapter in my life,” Carr said. “I’ve taught for 24 years, and it’s been a wonderful 24 years. But it’s a little bit different chapter, with being the AD.”
One of Carr’s first challenges will be filling vacant coaching positions, including his own spot as girls basketball coach. Boys basketball coach Greg Hitchens and baseball coach Ed Jones also recently stepped down.
“The key to this, obviously, is to get all coaches hired, but also just to learn the job,” Carr said. “It’s a different job, especially being at Burris.”
Carr said he will remain in communication with Dawson as he gets accustomed to his new position. Because Burris shares many of its athletic facilities with Ball State, the athletic director must coordinate with another institution as it plans its schedules, a challenge many other high schools don’t face. Carr hopes his familiarity with those he will be working with will help him in that area.
“We have great facilities, and it’s much better than it used to be, that’s for sure,” Carr said. “But we don’t have our own, per se, as in nobody else would use it but our school and so on. And we are very fortunate to be able to share it with Ball State. But with that comes time constraints and things you have to do to make sure the scheduling is proper and so on. That becomes a challenge.”