Tom Carlsen grew up in Miami, Florida and was a versatile athlete in football and track at Coral Park High School where he is a Hall of Fame member. He received a football scholarship to Memphis State University (University of Memphis) in 1969. At Strong Safety, Carlsen was the Defensive MVP in the 1971 Pasadena Bowl victory.
Following a brief stint in the World Football League, Tom began his 42-year career as a high school coach and educator when Boone’s Football Coach Jesse Lane and Principal John C. Pitts hired him in 1974. As Varsity Defensive Backs coach, he was part of the famous “Dirty Thirty” team that went 9-2 and won the Sentinel Star Bowl. Tom served the next three years as Defensive Coordinator and later became Head Track Coach.
Carlsen continued to establish his coaching career in Orange County by moving up the ranks of several high school programs. He honed his skills at Colonial High School for nine years and in 1987, Dr. Phillips High School hired him as Defensive Coordinator for their inaugural season. The following year, he was promoted to Head Football Coach and eventually became Head Track Coach. Over the next eight years, Tom would help lead the football program to success with a Metro Conference title and several Bowl appearances. In 1995, Tom took on new roles at Edgewater High School coaching the Quarterbacks and Running Backs and in time became Head Track Coach.
In 2000, Carlsen’s career came full circle after Football Coach Phil Ziglar and Principal Hugh Hattabaugh recruited him back to the place that gave him his start – Boone High School. From 2000-2009, he spent four seasons as Offensive Coordinator and six as Defensive Coordinator. During these years, the program met much success with 10 consecutive winning seasons, 2 Metro, 5 District, 3 Regional Titles and 9 State playoff appearances. Most notable, he was a part of the historic 2007 team where the undefeated Braves played for the 6A State Championship, ultimately finishing the season 14-1.
During his tenure, Tom was honored to coach in various post-season events and in 2007 Friday Night Football awarded him with Defensive Coordinator of the Year. Carlsen also initiated the reestablishment of the football feeder program known as the Junior Braves.
Tom credits the coaching staff camaraderie, dedication, and loyalty to the success of his years at Boone High School as well as the hardworking student-athletes, the sacrifices made by their parents, and the unparalleled support of the Boone administrations, faculty, and community.
Off the gridiron, Tom and his wife, Chris, devoted much of their time supporting their four children’s education and athletic endeavors:
Erin (Dr. Phillips ’94), Kristen (Boone ’96), Amy (Boone ’01) and Greg (Boone ’08). Now, Tom is an active member of the Orlando Touchdown Club
continuing his support of local sports. Tom and Chris enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren and they look forward to following the legacy of Boone athletics.