In this edition of Staff Features, we catch up with one of our most driven and dedicated team members!
Read on to gain an insider’s perspective and fascinating insight into the life of a true
Sun Country Superstar.

Name: Mary Carlson

Position: USA Gymnastics Girls Department Leader

Tenure: 5 Years


What are three traits the define you?
Passionate, honest, ambitious.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I wanted to be the trainer for the Tampa Bay Lightning that got to sit on the bench during the game, and when a player got hurt on the ice, ran out and scooped up the player to take them to the locker room to fix them. That is 100% not a joke. That’s really what I wanted to be.

How might someone describe you?
One of my athletes who I have coached since Day 1 at SC and is now an advanced level gymnast… When she was 9 years old, she gave me a bracelet and told me it represented Strength, Knowledge, and Inspiration. She then told me, “this makes me think of you.” I’ll never forget that. 🙂

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
Others doubting my intention or ability. 

What is one thing you could not live without?
My husband, David.

Where is your favorite place to be?
Two answers 🙂 – The Swamp on the first football gameday of the year with my husband and our best friends. Also, my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Michigan during Thanksgiving with all my cousins. It’s my absolute happiest time of the year. They are my favorite people!

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why? 
Savannah, GA. Dava and I just love it there! Always beautiful. Perfect place for a good book and a glass of wine. 🙂

Tell me how you first got involved with Sun Country. 
Applied for a part-time coaching position to help pay for my Master’s Degree at UF. Started coaching Level 2 just a few hours a week, and very quickly took on more and more. Then before I knew it, I took over the department and the rest is history!

What do you find the most challenging about your work?
Everything. You can’t have an off day. You always have to be on 100% for the kids. There’s never a day when you can just try less hard, even if it’s just for a day.

What has surprised you most about working with children?
How attached I get to them and their families. I couldn’t picture my life without a single kid that I coach in it.

What is it like to be the Director of a Gymnastics program?
Hard. Always have to be 10 steps ahead of everything going on. 

If you were not an employee at Sun Country, what would you be doing instead? 
Coaching somewhere else, judging gymnastics or pursuing strength and conditioning/athletic training.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Crossfit, anything active, rooting on all Gator sports, watching hockey and trying new restaurants with Dave. 

If you could share a meal with anyone in all of history, who would it be?
Steve Spurrier. Hilarious and has so many good stories.

What is your guilty pleasure book, movie or TV show?
Any version of the Bachelor.


A big thank you to Coach Mary for taking the time to answer our questions! If you ever happen to see her around the gym, feel free to share a smile and say hello! We hope to see you back again next month as we continue learning more about our hard-working Sun Country Staff!