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Notre Dame Head Coach Sean Carlson Goes Back To His North Central Days


“My job is to protect what we already have and what I sold the guys in our locker room. If I go and recruit a kid that wants a lifestyle that’s completely opposite of that, I’m doing those guys in the locker room and injustice because I’m bringing in a poison.”

Sean Carlson’s approach to coaching comes from the fear of being outworked and not being good. He had this mentality at North Central College running 120-mile weeks as a sophomore, which ended that season with a 16th place team finish. His perspective of what constitutes hard work was shaped during his time at North Central when his team eventually won the national title two years later. He has followed a similar trajectory leading the Notre Dame cross country team from a 14th-place regional finish to a national runner-up finish in five years.

Sean knew he wanted to be a coach but having daily wisdom from Al Carius was a helpful catalyst to know he was heading in the right direction. Coach Carlson credits the rise of the Notre Dame distance team to a strong team culture, which he learned from Al Carius. Sean has worked tirelessly to get the team to be at a point where they are doing all the small things correctly and are running at Notre Dame for the right reasons. He has even gone to recruited kids that would be a better fit for the team, rather than take the fastest kid available.

You can listen to Al Carius’ episode here.

We mentioned the documentary, ‘16 2 1’ in our conversation with Al. It’s a documentary made by fellow North Central alum RJ McNichols. It highlights the rise and fall from 2005-2011. He’s offering our listeners 50% off if you follow this link.

Listen now: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

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