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Carson, Christensen take on top roles with Sun
Paul Carson, a longtime Canada West player and coach, and assistant coach with the Okanagan Sun for the last seven seasons, is the new president of the B.C. Football Conference team.
In a restructuring of the club's board of directors, Carson was named to the post this past weekend at the Sun's annual general meeting.
In addition, former Sun head coach and player Jay Christensen was named the team's new general manager.
The appointments are part of the Sun's new direction as the club's executive focuses on preparing the organization for an eventual move into Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
Under the new model, the board of directors will handle the business aspect and long-term direction of the club, the operations committee will look after the day-to-day functions of the club, while the GM will be responsible for football operations.
Carson, who spent 14 seasons with the University of Calgary Dinos program five as a player and nine as an assistant coach, has an extensive background in business and finance, and will be employing those skills in his new role.
“It’s no secret that Okanagan Sun and UBC Okanagan are working towards moving into some kind of partnership," said Carson, who takes over the post from Bill Long who spent two seasons as team president. "We are going to continue to do our part to make that transition happen sooner than later, if possible.
"As a board, we want focus on the business aspect of the team, engage business people in the community, and work on raising funds so that when the times comes, we're ready for the move to university, whenever that happens."
For Christensen, moving into the GM's chair involved a couple of conditions, including Paul Carson's involvement on the board, and Jason Casey remaining on as the Sun's head coach.
Christensen, who spent seven seasons as the team's head coach, is excited to be part of the team's new direction and looks forward to helping recapture some of the momentum the club has lost within the community over the last few seasons.
"There seems to be part of the football community that has drifted away from the football club the last little while and we want to bring them back," said Christensen, who served on the Sun coaching staff last season as offensive coordinator. "Alumni, a lot of guys who used to be involved, the fans…they're all important to the team.
"You look at the team itself and the quality of people we have in place now, and we've got a pretty good foundation to build on.
"Kelowna has done a fantastic job for 32 years of supporting this team," added Christensen, "now we think we can take it to the next level."
From Carson's perspective, Christensen is infinitely qualified to take on the GM's duties.
"With Jay looking after the football side, it allows us to focus on other issues that boards should be focusing on," he said. "We have the confidence in Jay to run it, we're going to rely on his expertise, and we won't be discussing football issues with him. It's his team in that regard."
Howie Zaron, who served as general manager last season, will remain on with the team as the director of player personnel.
Carson said the move "keeps Howie doing what he does best and that is recruiting the best players in the country.”
• The five new members of the Sun board of directors are:
Paul Carson—Vice President, National Bank Financial
Todd Sanderson—Partner, Sanderson & Company Accounting
Tim Lawler—District Vice President, CIBC
Randy Lowe—CFO, McIntosh Properties
Jeff Lawson—COO, JDS Energy & Mining
• The returning directors are:
Bill Long—past President
Les Weiss—scholarship dinner
Blake Roberts—season ticket sales
Tamiko Lyle—player housing and scholarship liaison
Terry Henderson—operating committee liaison
Bryden Winsby—recording secretary