Carlson decides it's time to leave

Michael Holahan/Staff
Lenny Carlson, a former Augusta State assistant coach under Marvin Vanover and a volunteer coach under current coach Dip Metress, has decided to retire.

All Lenny Carlson ever did at Augusta State was be successful.


A longtime assistant coach for Marvin Vanover before later becoming a volunteer assistant coach for Dip Metress, Carlson has been on six of the Jaguars' eight postseason squads.

"I never think about that," he said. "I'll be 69 this summer. I just think about the next day. I'm a lucky guy."

Carlson announced Wednesday he's retiring from basketball. He leaves on a high note. Augusta State set a school record for wins this season, finishing with a 30-5 mark. The fourth-ranked Jaguars also made their second consecutive appearance in the Division II Final Four.

"It's been a great run," he said. "It's been a lot of fun."

A fierce competitor, Carlson said he's giving up basketball now so he can enjoy the rest of his life. After all, he's endured 24 knee operations, three sports hernia repairs and had surgeries to his hands, feet and hip.

For three years, Carlson also suffered from polymyalgia rheumatica, an inflammatory disorder that causes widespread muscle aching and stiffness according to the Mayo Clinic.

One day, he decided to stop taking his medicine, medicine that helped his weight balloon to 242 pounds. He started swimming and lifting weights. Carlson, who now weighs 190 pounds, continues to exercise -- he rides a bike three days and lifts weights.

A former point guard and team captain who led the University of Connecticut in scoring his final two years from 1960-62, Carlson came to Augusta as an Army lieutenant in 1963.

Knee injuries derailed a career playing in the ABA and NBA. Instead, he began coaching at Augusta State in 1968, working as an assistant under Vanover. During the 1975-76 season, Carlson took a leave of absence to coach professionally in Belgium for one season. His team finished 41-15; Carlson was named the league's coach of the year.

He returned to Augusta State and continued as an assistant until 1982, when he went into private business.

In 2006, Carlson helped Augusta State athletic director Clint Bryant with a summer clinic. That fall, he joined Metress as an unpaid volunteer. Carlson's role eventually evolved into a large one.

Over the past three seasons, he's helped out in practice, showing players fundamentals. He's also performed advance scouting duties, broken down film and helped with the game plans.

Carlson also added balance on the Augusta State bench. He and part-time assistant coach Robbie McKinlay provided calm to Metress' fire.

"It was a good marriage, the three of us," Carlson said.

Carlson said he'd like to see Metress get a chance to coach at the next level. And he'd like to see McKinlay get an opportunity as well.

"I'd like nothing more than for some school to take a chance on Robbie McKinlay," Carlson said. "He's good enough to be a good head coach on this level. He has no baggage. Somebody give him a chance."

Carlson continues to work as a consultant for VWR International, a scientific products distributor, working four territories.

"The way I'm wired," he said, "I can't sit still."

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