Following undergraduate work at Greenville College, Charlie Carey was selected as a National Science Foundation fellow while he was a graduate student. In the spring of 1964, he donned the bell-sleeved robe of a graduate degree recipient at Central Michigan University’s commencement ceremony. That fall, Carey was named the first ever coach of the men’s tennis team when Spring Arbor University (then SAC) President Dr. David McKenna hired him as a mathematics professor. For Charlie, a great incentive to accept McKenna’s offer was the promised opportunity to start a tennis program at Spring Arbor. This would be a position he kept for 15 years before he handed over the program to one of his own players, current men’s coach, Terry Darling.
In each of the 15 seasons under Carey, the Cougars had a winning record with two undefeated seasons thrown into the mix. Carey was twice awarded NAIA District Coach of the Year. After he retired from coaching, Carey remained active in Cougar athletics by serving 20 years as the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR). During that time Carey also served on the National Committee of FAR’s.
During the 1970’s, with a young family at home, he pursued doctoral studies at the University of Michigan while still coaching the men’s tennis team until 1977. For more than four decades Professor Carey helped students discover one-to-one mapping between algebraic structures, searching for and verifying that isomorphism’s exist. He dedicated his life to explaining the pure, theoretical side of mathematics to Spring Arbor students who would be teaching in Michigan’s classrooms.
Over the years, Carey has received numerous awards and honors including SAU’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the Leroy Lowell Service Award and the Harold Darling Keeper of the Concept Award.
In 2011, he was inducted into the Spring Arbor University Athletic Hall of Fame in the Coaches Category. This honor was a fitting recognition of a man whose love of tennis has remained constant and strong. Many years after their graduation several men who competed while he was the Spring Arbor tennis coach still remain in touch with Carey; in fact, a number of them traveled many miles to be present when their coach was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Some have stories to tell of Charlie’s mentorship that went well beyond his coaching and they deeply respect him.