Gustafson is the 21st head football coach in Texas Lutheran history. He takes over for Padron, who retired Saturday after seven seasons as head coach. Padron led TLU to three Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships and to a 2014 national playoff berth in the NCAA Division III.
Coaching alongside Padron for the 2014 and 2015 TLU football seasons, Gustafson worked as the offensive line coach and as the team’s director of football operations. Gustafson and Padron car-pooled together from San Antonio nearly every morning while they worked together at TLU.
Gustafson has head football coaching experience from his time at San Antonio Christian High School, Winston Churchill High School, and New Braunfels Canyon High School.
Gustafson comes back to TLU after a year as the head football coach at San Antonio Christian High School.
“I’m walking on a cloud,” said Gustafson. “I really am very excited and humbled. Danny Padron is my best friend. We first coached together back in the 90s, and I have learned so much from him.”
“I believe we stand for the same things. He has done a remarkable job with that program, and it is a sincere privilege to be handed the baton. We will do our absolute best to advance the TLU football program.”
Gustafson is expected to re-join the TLU community and the football program in December.
“TLU is extremely fortunate to have as its next football coach a man who embodies the qualities that Danny Padron used to transform Bulldog football: a keen football mind, years of head coaching experience, and great energy,” said Dorsey. “We are confident that Carl Gustafson will build upon the foundation laid by Coach Padron and make the Bulldogs perennial contenders for conference championships and the NCAA playoffs.”
“Most importantly, Carl Gustafson brings the same faith, high ethical standards and commitment to both winning football and developing young men of character.”
Gustafson returns to a TLU campus community and an athletics program, led by Director of Athletics Bill Miller, that Gustafson called home from the summer of 2014 to the spring of 2016.
“The TLU community and the people there excite me,” said Gustafson. “I miss those players tremendously. I miss the coaching staff that is there, as well as Dr. Dorsey and Bill Miller. It is a close-knit family. To be given an opportunity to come back and be in the Bulldog family was obviously very enticing, along with the opportunity to be able to coach those same young men that I know.”
“And I am excited to go out and bring in those high character guys that Coach Padron and his staff have been bringing in for years. All the reasons that those current players decided to come to TLU – to get an outstanding education and to play football - none of that will change. We are going to stand for the same things. We are going to be committed to excellence on and off the field.”
In his two prior seasons as the TLU offensive line coach and director of football operations, Gustafson and the Bulldogs went 17-4, won a pair of Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships and advanced to the NCAA Division III Football Championship (first round) in 2014.
“Dr. Dorsey’s choice for the next head football coach at Texas Lutheran University couldn’t have been a better one,” said Padron. “He is the right man for this job. Carl Gustafson is an outstanding coach, but an even better person - a man of integrity, a man of compassion, a man of faith. He is an individual who has a clear vision on how to build on the success of this program, and he has the ability and experience to unite our players and staff alike.”
“Coach Gus, together with our excellent staff, will continue to work to improve our program, helping each of our players become the best person that they can be. His enthusiasm and passion for the game and our student-athletes will fuel his efforts to keep TLU on top. Carl is a giver. He gives of himself in many ways. His servant-leadership style is an excellent fit for TLU.”
In 2014, the Gustafson-coached TLU offensive line paved the way for running back Marquis Barrolle to lead NCAA Division III in rushing. Barrolle rushed for 1,792 yards that year and concluded his record-breaking collegiate career this past Saturday with 3,991 rushing yards, a new TLU all-time rushing record.
Gustafson was the position coach for TLU All-American Kendall Wilkerson, who recently was named to the All-Time Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Team. Wilkerson, an offensive guard, was a 2014 All-American and the 2014 TLU Capt. Thomas E. Eddy Award Winner.
“As much as Carl is thrilled to come back to TLU and lead our football program, we are extremely excited that he has accepted this opportunity,” said Miller. “I’ve known Carl for many years. He is a man of great integrity, wisdom and leadership. He truly cares for our players and believes in the value of a TLU educational experience that blends the excellence of the classroom with the thrills and lessons of athletic competition.”
In his head football coaching and athletic coordinator days at Churchill, Gustafson coached the Chargers to the Area state playoff round in 2000 and to the Bi-District state playoff round in 2006.
In 2003, Churchill was the Dan Cook Cup Winner as the top-rated athletic program in San Antonio. Churchill also claimed the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Lone Star Cup Championship in 2000.
At New Braunfels Canyon, as head football coach and athletic director, Gustafson coached the Cougars to the 1998 state quarterfinal round.
“I am extremely excited to hear that Carl Gustafson will be our next head football coach at Texas Lutheran University,” said D.W. Rutledge, former TLU All-American linebacker, a Texas Sports Hall of Famer, and current executive director of the Texas High School Coaches Association. “Carl is well respected in the coaching community in Texas and has a genuine care and concern for his players.”
“He, like Danny Padron, will be a great fit for the Texas Lutheran community. Carl has outstanding leadership skills and a strong moral fiber, and no one will work harder to achieve excellence.”
Gustafson also served as a varsity assistant coach at San Antonio’s Tom C. Clark High School, Round Rock’s Westwood High School and Seguin High School in Seguin, Texas. He also coached in the Seguin ISD at Briesemeister Middle School and Saegert Middle School.
From 1993 to 1997 at Clark High School, Gustafson coached alongside Padron, who was the offensive coordinator for the Cougars.
In 2006, Gustafson was elected to the Board of Directors in the Texas High School Coaches Association. In 2004, he was selected as the head coach in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
From 2001-03, Gustafson served as the chairman of the Football Advisory Committee for the Texas High School Coaches Association.
“The familiarity of the high school coaches in Texas with Carl will be a major attribute for TLU in the recruiting process,” said Danny Padron, commenting on Gustafson’s long relationship with the Texas High School Coaches Association.
Gustafson holds a Master of Science degree in school administration from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University - Kingsville) in Kingsville, Texas.
Gustafson has a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Texas at Austin.
Gustafson and his wife, Charlotte, have been married 29 years. The Gustafsons have two children: Trey, 24, and Katy, 21. Trey is a graduate student at Stanford University. Katy is an undergraduate at the University of Texas.
Gustafson’s late father, Marvin, is a San Antonio Sports Hall of Famer and a high school coaching and athletics administration legend. The Northside ISD football complex is named C. Marvin Gustafson Stadium.
Cliff Gustafson, Carl Gustafson’s uncle, is the legendary former baseball coach of the University of Texas.