Carlson back at Brimfield? School board expects to rehire retired hoops coach

For The Weekly Post

BRIMFIELD – Count Scott Carlson among those guys for whom retirement didn’t entirely take.

About 17 months after what appeared to be his final game as Brimfield High School boys basketball coach, Carlson is in line to return.

During its meeting Wednesday night, convened after The Weekly Post deadline, the Brimfield School Board was to consider Carlson’s comeback attempt. According to Board President Steve Updyke, no opposition was expected.

That isn’t a surprise, given Carlson coached 495 victories in 700 games over 24 seasons at Brimfield, including a Class 1A state championship in 2015. What might be more surprising is how eager the 60-year-old Carlson is to get back in the game.

“It seems weird, because I’m really excited,” he said Monday. “It’s almost like my first opportunity is here, but obviously it’s one of the last chapters in my book, I guess.”

Carlson is set to replace Kevin Kreiter, who stepped down after one season and a 17-10 record. Kreiter, who remains the Brimfield athletics director, assisted Carlson for his entire initial varsity coaching tenure.

After 32 years overall at Brimfield, Carlson retired in 2021 from court and classroom, where he taught social studies. Carlson does not plan to return to teaching.

Part of the reason Carlson retired from basketball was because he feared a repeat of the 2020-21 season, which the coronavirus pandemic caused to be truncated (only 12 games) and modified.

“Wearing masks, no crowd, no postseason,” Carlson said. “I’m like, ‘I’m not sure I want to go through that again.’”

But separating Carlson from the sport has proven impossible.

Carlson spent 2021-22 as one of Kreiter’s assistants. That also was a return to a previous role. Before he became head coach in 1997, Carlson spent eight years assisting his two immediate predecessors, Dan Sullivan and Mike Bonczyk.

Under Kreiter, Carlson didn’t sit on the Brimfield bench during games, but he provided halftime insights and helped at practices.

The assistant job appeared to be an appetizer. Not long after Carlson retired, he inquired about a head-coaching vacancy at Dunlap. He also was an unsuccessful applicant recently for the top job at Bartonville Limestone.

“When I retired, I knew pretty quickly that maybe that was a mistake,” Carlson said.

“The help that I did last year, I’m glad I did it, but I knew I was missing it. It didn’t fulfill me as I’d like it to. … When I saw my old job was open, I decided I’ve got to jump on that one.”

Carlson interviewed with Marcy Steele, the newly hired Brimfield High principal. He said he received a good first impression. So did Steele, evidently. Carlson’s record might have something to do with it.

Only four of Carlson’s teams have finished below .500, none by more than three games. From 2007 through 2016, Brimfield was 255-33. That stretch included six regional championships, three sectional plaques and the 34-2 state-title season.

If the second Brimfield stint goes as planned, Carlson is to inherit freshman-sophomore coach Jake Lowery, his replacement as a teacher. Carlson said he plans to mentor Lowery, with the assumption he might be a successor someday.

But that day might not happen for a while.

“When I expressed my interest, I said three or four years or maybe more,” Carlson said. “But things can change. We’ll see.

“I’m a 60-year-old who’s still pretty young. I’m still thinking (there’s) a lot of life in me as far as coaching.”