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Carnegie: Timing is everything

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By Dana Finkler
Collegiate Staff Writer

Sometimes in life, timing is everything. For T.J. Carnegie that statement couldn’t be more accurate.

In 2009, he applied for the vacant head coaching position of the men’s basketball team at GRCC left by David Selmon. He didn’t get it. The timing wasn’t right.

Then, Kelly McEwen resigned as the men’s head coach this past season and the position became available. Carnegie applied, and he got it.

“I was bummed I didn’t get it the first time I applied,” Carnegie said. “The timing just wasn’t right, but this year but the timing was perfect”.

Carnegie is very passionate, and a big fan of the game of basketball. Growing up in Grand Rapids, he attended Catholic Central high school. You could always find him playing basketball with the local kids.

Along with basketball, Carnegie was passionate about business. After high school, Carnegie was offered a scholarship to Albion College to pursue both basketball and business.

“As a kid I always knew I wanted to be in business,” Carnegie said. “I didn’t know what it meant. I just knew I wanted to be one of those guys in a nice suit and tie.”

After earning his degree in economics and finance from Albion in 1997, he still wanted to be around the game of basketball. He landed a coaching job at Lee and East Grand Rapids for one year. Shortly after that, he found himself back at Catholic Central coaching the junior varsity team for one year.

He was then offered the varsity head coaching position. He coached the varsity team for 10 seasons, leading them to a 15 win season in his final year. Carnegie decided it was time for a change, and took a year off.

“I decided to take some time off to travel and do other things,” Carnegie said. “I went to a lot of community college games and become a fan of the game. You don’t always get to do that when you’re a coach.”  Now at the helm at GRCC, he is eager to begin his journey as a coach at the community college level.

“Everyday, my assistants and I come to practice and focus on how we can help graduate the players and make them better on and off the court,” Carnegie said.  “I hope five years down the road I’ll be interviewed by people talking about all the championships we’ve won, and how we built a program that the college is proud of.”

The Raiders have three scrimmages before the season begins. The first game of the season is at home on Wednesday November 9 against Aquinas JV at Gordon Hunsburger Area. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.