I think if it goes through, if it has any kind of peak to it, it will kill college athletics on our level. We can barely pay for what we’ve got now. —Norma Carr
Norma Carr is the first Utah woman to serve as athletic director for both men’s and women’s sports programs. She was also the first woman to officiate both men’s and women’s basketball.
She graduated from BYU in 1969, where she participated in five sports. She started coaching at Davis High before becoming the first woman to coach Division I women’s athletics at the University of Utah. She was the U.’s head volleyball coach and an assistant coach for basketball and softball.
In 1989, Carr was named the athletic director for Salt Lake Community College. She’s a member of the Utah Softball Hall of Fame, the Utah Coaches of Merit Hall of Fame and UHSAA Officials Hall of Fame and Circle of Fame. In 2009, she was named National Administrator of the Year.
She also coordinates officials for the WAC and MWC and is the current director for Region 18, the region in which SLCC competes. The pioneer in women’s athletics announced her retirement two months ago, although she plans to continue coordinating officials, as well as fulfill some duties for Region 18.
1. What do you think of the decision that allows Northwestern athletes to unionize? What do you think of that idea?
I think if it goes through, if it has any kind of peak to it, it will kill college athletics on our level. We can barely pay for what we’ve got now. If college athletes think they should be paid, above and beyond what they already get, but we’re not like D-Is. We don’t pay the extra stipends and all. If we did, we wouldn’t be able to afford athletic programs anymore. I think this is really a D-I issue, and really a handful of D-1s that maybe could pay for it. It will hurt college programs all across the country.
2. What has it meant to you to be able to spend your life working in athletics?
I feel extremely lucky. I had a career that really started in high school, went through the University of Utah to the present time. Every day I went to work, I got to work at something I loved and I had a passion for. A lot of people can’t say that about their careers. Yeah, it was a lot of hard work, but I feel very satisfied and very lucky. It’s been a fun career, a great career.
3. Do you hold any grudges against those who fought you on creating athletic opportunities for women?
I (remember) them, but they don’t sting like they used to. Most of the people those battles were fought with have come back and said they see the value in the whole thing. Getting started was tough, but I don’t hold any grudges. People know and see the value of what (women’s) athletics can do.
4. What advice would you give yourself as a young professional knowing what you know now?1 comment on this story
Be patient. Just in general, be patient. Value all people no matter what responsibility or how they interact with me. Any regrets? None. I think that’s a twofold answer. I have no regrets with the (SLCC) program and where it’s gone. I took a passion and put it to work for SLCC, and we’ve become very successful. My only regret is that I’m leaving it behind. It will become someone else’s program now.
5. What will you miss most after retiring?
The people. The interaction with the programs as they have success, as they struggle, and the student athletes that go along with it. And the coaches. They’ve become like my family.