Eighteen years after hoisting his first Vanier Cup with the University of Calgary Dinos football team, Paul Carson hopes to see his son do the same.
Matt Carson and the Dinos will take on the hometown Laval Rouge et Or on Saturday afternoon in the 2013 Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship game.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Matt Carson, 20. “It means a lot to us to be here and we’re going to try and make the most of it.”
Carson, 20, played three seasons with the KSS Owls before joining the U of C program in 2011. After red-shirting for two years, he was added to the playing roster at the start of this season and has seen action in every game on the defensive line.
Paul Carson, who is the president of the Okanagan Sun, played five seasons with the Dinos in the mid 1980s, winning two Vanier Cups.
He also coached with the Dinos from 1990 to 2000, winning a Canadian title in 1995.
While his dad’s university résumé may be a tough one to follow, Matt Carson is just happy to be part of a successful and reputable program.
“Those are some big shoes to fill, for sure,” the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Matt said of his dad’s career. “Hopefully as the years go by, I’ll make a bigger and bigger impact like he did. Right now, I’m just happy to be playing with this team and to be in the cup.”
The younger Carson didn’t attend the U of C specifically to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
In addition to being born there and still having family in the Alberta city, Matt also chose Calgary to pursue an education in petroleum geology.
Seeing his son wearing the red and gold of the Dinos stirs up some interesting emotions for Paul Carson.
“It’s a little surreal, in a way,” said Paul Carson, who still works as guest coach each year at Dinos camp. “Some of the guys I coached with are still there coaching Matt now.
“More than anything, I’m excited for him. The whole Vanier Cup experience, especially in Laval where there will be 20,000 fans is something he’ll never forget.”
Kick off on Saturday in Quebec City between the Dinos and Laval is 10 a.m. Pacific time.