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Penn's football team beat Dartmouth 17 - 10 on Saturday September 30, 2006. Matt Carre turns upfield after making a catch in the first half. Credit: Fred David

It wasn't a smooth transition from the field to the sidelines.Former Penn wide receiver Matt Carre's first season as a coach was rough.

But even after starting the season 0-9, Carre tried to stay positive as he took the field as King's College intern assistant coach for the team's final game of the year last Saturday.

"It was really difficult because we weren't winning games," Carre said. "The other coaches had been coaching a long time, so they'd had these types of seasons, but it was new territory for me."

Carre joined the Monarchs' coaching crew after a standout career with the Quakers that earned him second-team All-Ivy honors in 2006-07, his senior year, and landed him in Penn's record books with 1,450 receiving yards for sixth all-time.

And although he enjoyed his time on the field as a player, his aspirations for swapping his cleats for a clipboard started early in his time with Penn.

"You always knew it was in his blood," Quakers coach Al Bagnoli said. "He was always very involved both in film and meetings and practice and things like that so it's probably a natural progression for him."

Carre majored in elementary education while at Penn, and says the skills he learned in the classroom have proved just as useful as those learned on the field.

"There's a lot of thought that goes into practice for what you want to accomplish, the same way you have to think about classroom time and what you want to get accomplished," Carre said. "You make plans for practice and they're basically lesson plans."

Whatever his strategy, it certainly seems to translate into success when it comes to connecting with the players.

"He's never negative, he's always positive in the way he talks to us," Monarchs wide receiver Rick Ritter said. "It makes you want to listen to him and go out there and play the way that he played."

Carre joined the King's staff with an understanding that he would work primarily with the wide receivers.

But after losing all three experienced receivers due to injury early in the season, Carre's assignment became more difficult as he faced the task of transforming a freshmen receiving corps into starting material.

"Those guys needed constant feedback daily and [Carre] was very good with giving them through the peaks and valleys of being a freshman," Monarchs coach Richard Manello said. "The way that he was able to teach routes and break things down for them in a way that they could understand was very valuable for us."

And if player feedback is any indication of his success on the sidelines so far, it seems like Carre's coaching career is off to a positive start.

"He's definitely the best wide receivers coach I've ever had," Ritter said. "The way that he explains things is great and him coming right out of college helps too because he's fresh off the game and he knows what's going on today."

One thing Carre wasn't used to was being a part of a losing team. In his time with the Quakers, the team never faced the prospect of a losing season.

But luckily for the Monarchs, the tenth time was a charm.

Tied at 14 with 20 seconds left against Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham in that final game, King's College managed to drill the game-winning field goal.

"It felt like we won the Super Bowl," Carre said.

The squad came away victorious to give Coach Carre the first win of his new career.

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