ALEX CARSON, CLASS OF 2013
Alex “Crash” Carson graduated from University in 2013. He then went on to graduate from the University of Notre Dame in 2017 with a degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics. Alex now works as a health practice associate at Milliman and, for the last few years, has returned to UHS during basketball and baseball seasons to assistant coach alongside Coach Estep and Coach Blanding.
What have you been up to since leaving UHS?
I spent four years at the University of Notre Dame, graduating with a degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics in 2017. Professionally, I’ve worked in the Indianapolis healthcare consulting practice at Milliman since graduating, where I’ve primarily worked in statistical marketing and product management. As a bit of a mix between a passion project and a scouting aid, I maintain the TWISTR Ratings (https://twistrratings.com), a series of algorithm-based computer ratings for several IHSAA sports. Around UHS, I’ve been an assistant on the baseball staff under Coach Estep since graduating from Notre Dame, and I also spent the last few years on the girl’s basketball bench with [Director of Diversity & Equity] Coach Blanding.
How do you feel University best prepared you for college?
I think the strength of University was that it provided me with both a habit-building platform and a skill-building platform in a way that really set me up for success. UHS being so far ahead of the curve with the one-to-one laptop program helped me figure out how to screen out distractions in the classroom early, and being involved in so many extracurriculars (Athletics, Academic Team, Blaze Craze, etc.) forced me to develop both strong time management skills and learn very real lessons about working in a team environment.
From a skills perspective, UHS helped me go from a high school freshman who couldn’t really write to someone who spent four years in college working for our student newspaper, rising to the level of Assistant Managing Editor and covering several sports at Notre Dame, including football. Closer to the classroom, I did undergraduate research at Notre Dame, which is something that has a clear link back to the Research Scholars program at University. I also like to share the anecdote that my freshman year economics class in college used the exact same textbook I used in my senior year at UHS.
How are the core values you learned at University still being applied to your life now?
There are probably a few places where I see University’s core values still standing out. On a personal level, there’s an element of stewardship that shines through and that has brought me back to UHS — I feel like I have a strong need for some level of purpose, and coaching at University has been a big part of providing that over the last few years. Obviously, the success we’ve had in the programs I’ve been involved in means I see a high commitment to excellence from current UHS students who put in the work to chase their dreams and move on to the next level. Professionally, I am heavily involved in recruiting and hiring at my job, and on reflection, I think the core values could provide a really good guide for the type of candidates I’m most interested in learning more about.
Do you regularly volunteer or do service work? If so, what do you do?
I have a running joke with my friends that I pretty much disappear between October and June — and while I’d argue that’s not 100% true, I do spend a lot of my free time either coaching at UHS, preparing for an upcoming opponent, or doing whatever else might be needed to put our kids in the best position. I’m so grateful to get to be involved and play even the smallest role in our kids’ high school experiences.
What has been the most valuable experience you have had since leaving University?
From a college experience standpoint, I think my time overall at The Observer (Notre Dame’s student newspaper) was incredibly valuable. Not only did I get a feel for what it was like to be in this fairly professional environment — we printed five days a week and many Observer alums have gone on to great work at papers across the country — but I got some really great experiences and cool exposure out of it as well. In my junior year, I was covering Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team, which made a run to the Elite Eight. I grew up religiously following the NCAA tournament, so as a college student, getting to travel to Brooklyn and Philadelphia and sit courtside on press row was such a neat experience. When I was a senior, I was an assistant managing editor, which took me out of my sports shell a little bit and forced me to think about a host of other challenges that college campuses face, which was also pretty valuable. It certainly doesn’t have to be media, but I’d definitely recommend kids get involved in something during their time in college — it’s such a unique period in your life to have the chance to explore something, even if it might not be the thing you end up making your living doing.
What has been your best University memory?
I’m gonna cheat and pick a memory from when I was a student and an anecdote from my time as a coach. I grew up watching high school sports all around the state, and to me, ”school spirit” was showing up on Friday or Saturday nights, packing the stands, and cheering on your classmates. It was something I thought was missing from University — so after a couple of awkward starts, a group of basketball players from the class above came to me and we founded Spirit Club and the Blaze Craze together my junior year. It was something that really crystallized this idea that part of our community was going to games and supporting our peers who were representing our school. My senior year, our boy’s basketball team made a run to the final four, and I’ll never forget walking into the gym at semi-state, hearing our pep band play the UHS fight song and seeing more than half the school in the stands ready to cheer on our team, even though the game was 90 minutes away. It was really a culminating moment for me and my four years at University, and seeing the legacy of the Blaze Craze continuing a decade later is really cool.
As a coach, I think it’s just really cool to see those moments where the hard work and commitment to excellence so many of the kids I’ve coached had shined through. Whether it’s a big accomplishment like winning a state championship in 2019 with the baseball team or an under-the-radar one like a player making their first big contribution after coming back from a tough injury, I really enjoy those moments where we get to celebrate the success of those in our community.