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Job turns to hobby for Carson

NATCHEZ — When Alcorn State University hired Rickey Carson as its first ever golf coach, there was one teeny-weeny problem.

Carson had never played golf.

When The Dart landed at Duncan Park Golf Course Friday afternoon, Carson was practicing his swing while wife Victoria and daughter Courtney looked on.

“I had to find out about the rules. What’s a par? What’s a birdie? I didn’t even know what that was,” Carson said.

But Carson is well versed in the game now. An assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the ASU football team from 1998 to 2000, Carson studied the rules of golf at the library, and eventually applied his newfound knowledge at Duncan Park.

“I did bad my first time out. I tore up the golf course real bad,” Carson said. “I’m sure everyone was glad when I left that day.”

Carson didn’t let his less than stellar debut deter him from the game. He continued to practice, and even gained pointers from his team, which finished sixth overall in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

“They gave me pointers, but I was always the coach, so we helped each other along,” Carson said. “It was an adventure for me.”

Carson is now the head football coach and head golf coach at Texas College in Tyler, and says golfing allows him cherish quiet time.

“I usually play twice a month during football season and every day (during the summer),” Carson said. “It’s relaxing, and you can get out a lot of frustration hitting that white ball.

“Golf is very disciplined, and you’ve got to work at it. Don’t let that bad score conquer you.”

After 12 years practice and study, Carson gives himself a B — a far cry from making large divots on the golfing green.

Carson, who now resides in Mesquite, Texas, was in town for his wife’s brother-in-law’s 77th birthday Saturday. But Carson couldn’t celebrate for too long. He traveled to Canton, Ohio, Saturday to watch his Mississippi Valley State University football teammate Jerry Rice be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Carson was a running back for the Delta Devils from 1977 to 1981. He is a swimming and water safety instructor, and is a fifth degree black belt in karate.

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