From snakes to soccer: How Coach Chris Carmichael balances his roles

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From snakes to soccer: How Coach Chris Carmichael balances his roles

The Bruin women’s soccer team poses with one of Coach Chris Carmichael’s pythons. Photo: Amy Roukes

Dr. Chris Carmichael—also known as “the snake guy”—is the new head soccer coach for the Bruin women, as well as a member of the science faculty. His years of experience with soccer and snakes have made him an ideal fit for both the BJU athletic and natural science departments.

Collegian staff writer Caitlin Allen spoke with Coach Carmichael to learn more about his two very distinct roles on campus.

What do you prefer to be called?

My students call me “Dr. C.,” and my players call me “Coach.”

What do you do besides coaching?

I’m a teacher in the division of natural science. Part of my job is helping to start a new zoology program for the University, beginning with a large snake collection.

How many snakes does the University have?

We have more than 100 snakes that I brought here. We use them to educate students that want to work with animals. Because I’m a herpetologist, students can work with me and get some experience.

Do you have a hobby besides snakes?

I love hiking, fishing, kayaking, boating and canoeing. I’m also a dog fanatic.

Do you have a family?

My wife of 23 years, Sharon, and I have 10 children who range from ages 2 to 22. Our oldest daughter is married and has two kids, so I’m also a grandpa.

How long have you been playing soccer?

I played all the way through college and continued to play on a few traveling teams after I graduated, but I realized that coaching is what I really love to do. I was the head men’s soccer coach for three years at Malone University in Ohio.

What’s your favorite part of coaching?

I enjoy starting new programs and watching them develop. The ultimate reward for me is watching the players use skills on the field that they’ve learned in practice.

What’s your favorite soccer team?

As far as club teams, Barcelona. For national teams, I go for Spain because they’re a very possession-oriented team.

What are the Bruin women doing well?

On the field, we defend as a unit really well. We’re able to shut down top opponents for a good part of the game.

What do you want to help the Bruin women improve on?

If we can shut down goal kicks and corner kicks, then we should be very competitive.

How can we, as fans, better support you?

I wish I could recruit those Narwhals for every game! I appreciate the clear and strong support for the Bruins and the fact that it isn’t anti-support of the opposing team. I think the support we’re getting from fans is amazing.