There’s a big building west of here that’s Bulldog red and trimmed in white, which should be no surprise since it houses a special project belonging to David and Derek Carr.
“Absolutely, that’s on purpose,” says David Carr, discussing the color scheme and every other detail of the Carr Elite training center, which for years was a goal of the family that spawned high-profile Fresno State quarterbacks a decade or so apart.
There is a 70-yard grass field out front, a training facilityand full basketball court inside and out back a Jungle gym for kids that can ignite the imagination, all set off a road that’s marked dead end but goes and goes for as long as anyone who trains here can see, whether it is a 9-year-old aspiring Division I quarterback, an NFL Draft prospect preparing for the Combine or a 40-year-old just wanting to get into better shape.
Its mission, too, should be no surprise coming from the Carr family, David and Melody, Derek and Heather, taking care of the San Joaquin Valley that has taken care of them.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
“We were blessed because we had my dad when we were growing up and he was great, just an unbelievable coach for all of us, and we kind of wanted to give that to the kids out here,” David Carr says. “There’s so much talent here. Kids need a little direction, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“Hopefully, we get kids ready for whatever they want to get into, but if they choose sports, then I like to think we have enough guys and enough experience here to guide them in the right way.”
Derek Carr, in his rookie season with the Oakland Raiders, says he wants the training center to be like hanging out in his backyard — train, learn, have fun.
There are two trainers on staff — Eric Mahanke, the former Bulldogs receiver who was David Carr’s teammate, and Clayton Morovich, a former strength coach at Cal State Bakersfield.
Rodger Carr works with young football players — quarterbacks, naturally. Darren Carr, the middle brother, also is a trainer at the center and at the Carr Elite football camps.
There are programs for large and small groups and one-on-one training, which can be sport-specific, tailored to football, baseball, basketball, soccer or volleyball.
Mahanke says every client gets a personal evaluation before starting on a plan. Derek Carr says his buddy knows his stuff: “He’s great, great with kids from 8 years old all the way up to my age. He gets it. He does it with a positive attitude. There’s so much negativity in that type of environment and even in coaching, too.”
Carr Elite has big plans. During the summer, its trainers will again hold football mini-camps and clinics up and down the Valley with potential sites in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and Santa Cruz.
And there are plans to build a second Carr Elite training center in Fresno — representatives have been scouting potential locations for a site.
“Having our deal here in Bakersfield and Fresno is so important to us,” Derek Carr says. “There are a lot of kids in Bakersfield and Fresno who drive all the way to L.A. for training. We want to give kids a place, one, and a place with good influences. We’re going to be there to encourage you. You’re going to have fun doing what you’re doing with us. We want to give kids an experience where they don’t look back at their high school career or junior high career and think, man, I wish I had a coach that was encouraging or something like that. We want to give kids that chance.”
Carr Elite continues the family’s investment in the Valley from an interest in almonds to promoting the Educational Employees Credit Union and supporting a number of charitable causes including juvenile diabetes research (David’s daughter Grace was diagnosed with it last year) and the Children’s Hospital Central California, where Derek’s and Heather’s son Dallas underwent surgeries due to an intestinal malrotation.
David Carr says the training facility gives him the chance to give back: “We’re going to be able to make a real impact on the youth and on the people that are trying to follow in our footsteps and do what we’ve done. It kind of tugs at the heart strings when you see the little guys get it and their eyes light up.”