For the second time in four years, Chuck Rapp is stepping away as head coach of the Serra basketball team.
The announcement was made Wednesday that Rapp will not be involved in the operations of the 2019-20 basketball season, with longtime assistant Brian Carson taking over as head coach. Sean Dugoni, who served as head coach in 2016-17 when Rapp missed a season following back surgery, remains on staff as an assistant coach.
Carson and Dugoni both confirmed Rapp will miss the upcoming season due to his busy physical therapy schedule five days a week.
“He didn’t think it was fair to the kids to be here some days and not be here others,” Dugoni said.
Rapp informed his staff last week he would not be coaching this season. He asked Carson to take over his post Oct. 30, to which Carson accepted immediately.
“No hesitation,” Carson said. “I love these kids. They’re great kids. Coaching with Coach Dugoni, it’s an easy decision.”
Carson, 45, has been coaching on Rapp’s staff at Serra since 2006-07. He also works as the strength and conditioning coach for Serra athletics, a post he’s held since 2007.
When the Padres officially open Dec. 3 at home against Sequoia, it will mark Carson’s first career game as a head coach. Prior to arriving at Serra, the 1992 graduate of Burlingame High worked as an assistant coach at Chico State University, College of the Siskiyous and McAteer High-SF. He began his coaching career at McAteer with his brother Craig, who now serves as an assistant coach for Menlo-Atherton boys’ basketball.
Carson has long coached Serra’s lockdown defense, while Dugoni runs the offense. These roles will remain intact this year. The only difference is instead of Carson being in his usual crouch at the end of the Serra bench, he will be front and center and, as he joked, will finally be able to stand up during games.
Carson’s coaching philosophy? It’s right on par with Rapp’s style.
“Play hard, play defense, play together,” Carson said. “Wins and loses will take care of itself as long as we take care of the little things.”
Serra is coming off its first 20-win season since 2015-16. The Padres posted a 20-10 overall record in 2018-19, with win No. 20 coming in the regional semifinals of the CIF Division II State Boys’ Basketball Championships at home 70-46 over Rocklin. Serra fell in the regional finals, one game shy of the state championship game, 59-38 to Campolindo.
Carson said that March 5 loss will not be Rapp’s final game at Serra, as he plans to return after this season.
“That’s the plan as long as his health becomes better,” Carson said.
Dugoni — who has coached at Serra since 2005-06 — spelled Rapp three years ago, a transition that went relatively smoothly, Dugoni said. He expects a similar outcome this year, he said.
“We tried to make it a natural flow,” Dugoni said. “You’ll see some similarities from Coach Rapp. We’re going to throw in some new wrinkles too.”