Less than 36 hours after saying at his weekly press conference that he told his players last week to treat everyone like they had the coronavirus and to be careful when they interacted with others because of the ease at which the virus is transferred, Stephen F. Austin head football coach Colby Carthel announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
The announcement was made Wednesday evening at approximately 8:30 p.m. via a Tweet on Carthel’s personal account.
Carthel had previously said that he and his staff and the SFA football team have been going through testing three times a week since the summer and that “at some point everyone is going to get it.”
Well, he got it.
“As part of the COVID testing process, I received a positive test result on Tuesday, during our most recent round of testing,” Carthel said in his Twitter statement posted at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. “This result came as a surprise to myself and the rest of the staff, but I am confident in our plan and protocols in place to deal with positive tests.”
Carthel, who is in his second year as head coach of the squad, said he immediately began the quarantine process to limit exposure to others. He added in his Tweet that he was “#FeelingFine.”
“While I am physically distant from the team, I remain involved in our planning and preparation for this weekend’s game against Angelo State,” the coach explained.
The Lumberjacks (1-3) will be at home for only the second time this season on Saturday (Oct. 17) when they host the NCAA Division II Rams (1-0) at 4 p.m. at Homer Bryce Stadium. The ‘Jacks are coming off a 34-6 win over West Texas A&M on Oct. 3.
Carthel said he is handing over the reigns for this weekend’s game to his father and current SFA Special Teams Quality Control coach Don Carthel on an interim basis.
“The Lumberjacks will be in good hands during the game on Saturday as my dad, the ‘real’ Coach Carthel, will service as interim HC,” Colby said in his statement. “Amidst this process, I remain steadfastly thankful for the support and efforts of our administration, training staff, coaching staff and players, and I look forward to rejoining the team as soon as I am cleared to do so.”
Carthel also stated that since there was a 99.96% survival rate, he likes his odds, which was, in all likelihood, a joke on his part to lighten the announcement.
Colby said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday that he warned his players and staff during their open week last week to be cautious when they went home or when they were out and about.
“We relaxed our five-day quarantine, so people were allowed to go home,” Colby said on Tuesday at his midday press conference. “We’ve been preaching to them for a long time about possibilities of contracting the coronavirus, that everyone has to be careful, no matter where they go. We have taught them to think that everyone that they come in contact with has the coronavirus, and for them to live their life that way, to wear a mask and social distance.
“On Friday we tested and had no positives and hopefully that’ll continue through this week and we’ll roll with the punches if it doesn’t.”
This won’t be the first time 68-year old Don Carthel has been in charge of a collegiate football team. The Dimmitt, Texas, native who played for Eastern New Mexico from 1970-73, has a collegiate head coaching career mark of 124-69-1 (.642), including 2-0 in bowl games and 6-6 in NCAA DII playoff contests.
He has collegiate coaching stops at UTEP (asst. — 1983-84), Eastern New Mexico (HC — 1985-91), West Texas A&M (HC — 2005-12) and Texas A&M-Commerce (asst. — 2015-18) before coming to SFA to coach with his son on the Lumberjacks’ staff in 2019.
Colby and Don were part of the same coaching staff — Colby was head coach — that captured the NCAA Division II National Championship at A&M-Commerce in 2017.
Don directed Eastern New Mexico to a Lone Star Conference championship in 1991 and West Texas A&M squads to four LSC titles in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012 and was part of Colby’s four LSC titles at Texas A&M-Commerce from 2015-18.
It is unclear at this time whether Colby with be back at the helm of his team for their next game on Saturday, Oct. 24, when they battle Abilene Christian University at Globe Life Park in Arlington. That game will kick off at 12:30 p.m.