Faculty Spotlight: Larry Carlson

By: Lindsey Holderbycarlson-bio-pic

At the peak of his dream job, a drunk driver brought this sports broadcaster’s career to a screeching halt.

Larry Carlson, SJMC Senior Lecturer, was driving home after a post-game radio interview when a drunk driver crossed the IH-35 median and hit him head-on. Along with a broken jaw, nose, ribs, and femur, his most crucial asset to his career was taken from him – one of his vocal chords had been paralyzed. After his tragic accident, Carlson was unable to speak at all for nine months, nor could he work for two years. But after three surgeries and numerous speech therapy sessions, he finally had a voice again.

Years later, Carlson returned to his journalistic calling; he was appointed as the editor and publisher for “Texas Hill Country View” and even found a way to mix his passion of traveling and sports in 2002 with a show called “Big Game Hunters” that delved into the culture and experience of the big collegiate games from the tailgates to the local eats. He and a friend pitched the idea to various networks and produced a season of episodes on ESPN2.

In the early 80s, Carlson was working in public relations for the UT San Antonio athletic department when a friend from his alma mater, Southwest Texas State, asked him if he would be willing to teach a class. Carlson immediately fell in love with teaching and picked up the first full-time teaching position that opened up in the Journalism and Mass Communication department. He has now been teaching for almost 30 years. He says his passion for teaching is the priority; however, he still manages to keep his hands in broadcasting and journalism “just for fun,” participating in coverage of Texas Longhorn football games on San Antonio’s ESPN radio affiliate station where he has also covered two of the last four national championship football games.

 

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Larry interviews Texas QB Randy McEachern on the Longhorn Locker Room Show (KVET Radio Austin, 1977)

Carlson’s biggest influence in life was his father — a UT grad who gave Larry his orange sporting blood and brought food to the table as a petroleum engineer. He always encouraged Larry to do what he loved, and that’s exactly what Larry did. His Dad used to say, “You can do something you don’t like and make a good living, or you can do something you like and not make a damn thing.”

“Dad was semi-right; I got into things I absolutely love. You never mind going to work every day because it’s fun!” Carlson said. “I don’t see how people can get up every day for a job they absolutely hate, even if they’re making a really good living.”

Carlson’s biggest advice to his graduating students is short and sweet: get a job. He believes that every job is attainable, though it may not be easy. Carlson stresses that those who chase their dreams find it’s definitely worth it in the end because “you won’t ever have to work another day in your life.”

“Students just want to ponder forever what they want to do and never actually do it because they’re too scared,” Carlson said. “Just do it.”

On his days off, Carlson loves to read non-fiction, preferably about “the greatest American that ever lived,” George Washington. He enjoys traveling, especially anywhere with a beach, and he spends almost every other day “grilling and chilling” on his back patio in San Antonio with his wife. Carlson says he has everything he could want and wouldn’t change a thing.

Larry Carlson’s ‘Careers in Media’ MC1100 class recently took a trip to the Dell Diamond field, home of the minor league baseball team Round Rock Express, and met with announcer Mike Capps. You can find photos from their trip here.

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About Josue Plaza
Josue Plaza is a student at Texas State University majoring in Electronic Media.

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