Carpenter ready to take over FBCA athletics
When he arrived at Fort Bend Christian Academy four years ago, Aaron Carpenter was tasked with calling plays as offensive coordinator for the football team and helping manage Eagles athletics as assistant athletic director.
Carpenter is still calling shots for FBCA’s offense. However, it is now his athletic department to lead.
Named head athletic director late during the spring, Carpenter is entering his first full school year in charge of an Eagles athletics department that featured much prominent success in 2021-22. The volleyball team went 35-4 and won a TAPPS Division 5 state championship. The girls track team won gold at the state meet.
The football team, buoyed largely by Carpenter’s explosive, dynamic offense, was a state semifinalist. The boys track team finished second at state. The softball team was a state semifinalist. The girls cross country team finished in the top 10 at the state meet.
“Last year, it seemed like we were sending out orders for playoff shirts every four months,” Carpenter said. “People who had been around here a long time had never remembered that before. You’re going to have ups and downs but when you have that sustained success, that is a direct indication that your culture is moving in the right direction.”
Carpenter has 25 years of experience in private school education in the Houston area. He grew up in Michigan in a small town north of Detroit. His wife is from Texas.
Carpenter succeeds Kelly Carroll, the highly successful Eagles softball coach and athletic director who resigned for a job outside of athletics that awards more time to spend with family.
“That’s the great thing about my predecessors before me, the foundation has been laid and there’s been a lot built upon that,” Carpenter said. “Now it’s my responsibility to add to that. My job is to help these coaches be the greatest coach they can be in all aspects.”
Carpenter has two assistants in Deon Minor, the head cross country and track and field coach, and Brandon Scott, the Eagles’ new boys basketball coach. Both are reputable coaches in cultivating relationships with players and families.
“We want our families to be able to say that having our coaches in their children’s lives has been very impactful for them,” Carpenter said.
FBCA’s campus has students from pre-K through 12th grade; 800 in all, 320 at the high school.
School administration is full of leaders who have a background in teaching and coaching. They include high school principal Nathan Barber and middle school principal Melisa Carroll.
“They have the background of not only sports, but the academic and spiritual side of the campuses, and how important it all ties in and how athletics greatly impacts all of that as well,” Carpenter said. “Great men and women that are mission-minded, that are kid-focused and relationship-driven. We’re not all the same, but we’re all like-minded in what our focus is.”
VYPE spoke more with Carpenter about his new role.
VYPE: What piqued your interest about the athletic director job?
CARPENTER: The natural progression of private school education has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been blessed with the gifts to teach and coach, and when you’re in a small private school, you have a chance to be a jack of all trades. You do a little bit of everything. I’ve been fortunate that the situations I’ve been in, the leadership above me gave me those opportunities. They saw something. This has been the natural path, as far as transitioning from the classroom (for the last 22 years) into administration. When you’re in an administrative position like this, you have a greater opportunity to affect the culture of the entire campus. It’s teaching at its core.
VYPE: What is your vision as AD?
CARPENTER: The aspect that we are Fort Bend Christian Academy, and not just being stuck in our pockets of interest. Whether it’s football, basketball, track, cross country, baseball, softball … in this day of specialization, that’s not what the entire high school experience is about. And being a private Christian school, we have the opportunity, not only to impact the kids from an everyday school standpoint, but doing what Jesus commands us to do and go and make disciples of all nations. We get to impact kids on a spiritual basis, day in and day out. In athletics, we have the coaches that have that same mentality. Not only do we coach these kids hard, but we love them even more. Not only do these kids have a coach, but they have mentors who live their faith day in and day out.
VYPE: How do you go about sustaining the success FBCA athletics had last season and building upon that?
CARPENTER: I think it goes back to the students, families and coaches, and directly impacted by culture. Culture of the campus, culture within all athletics. I think we’re seeing the benefits of people investing in people. When you have those player-coach and coach-family relationships, and everybody knows that everybody has everybody else’s best interests in mind, as far as athletically, academically and spiritually, that’s where trust is developed. I’m a big believer that when you have trust, that leads to respect, and when people trust and respect you, it leads to belief. And when everybody is believing in what everybody is doing for the whole, you can accomplish anything.