Carey earned a total of nine varsity athletic letters at Michigan State, three each in football, basketball and track. In his era, freshmen were not eligible for varsity competition. As Captain of the undefeated Spartan 1951 football team, he earned consensus first team All-America honors at end and was a member of the 1951 College Football All-America Team. Carey had also received All-American recognition in football by the Associated Press in 1950. In 2001, he was chosen as a member of Althon Sports Michigan State All Time Football Team. Carey was the 1951 Big Ten Conference Shot Put Champion. His third-place finish in the shot put at the 1951 NCAA Track & Field Championships placed him on National Collegiate Track Coaches All-American team. He was selected as a charter member of Michigan State's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.
Carey was also a three-year starter for the Michigan State basketball team playing for Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell. Spartan football coach and College Football Hall of Fame member Biggie Munn called Carey "the greatest all-around athlete I've ever seen or hope to see." As a senior at State, he won the Chester L. Brewer Award, given annually to a graduating senior for "distinguished performance in athletics and scholarship, and for possessing a high degree of character, personality, competitive spirit and other leadership qualities which forecast a successful future."
During the 1954 pro campaign while playing for the LA Rams, Carey suffered a severe knee injury which required reconstructive surgery. He spent the 1955 season serving as End Coach with eventual College Football Hall of Fame coach Dan Devine as a part of Devine's initial staff at Arizona State. The Sun Devils finished 8-2-1 for the season. Devine went on the Head Coaching positions at Missouri, the Green Bay Packers and at the University of Notre Dame where he won a national championship in 1977.
Bob and his fraternal twin brother Bill were members of the legendary 1945 Charlevoix, Michigan football team that went undefeated and unscored upon. Bob stood 6′5″ and weighed 215 pounds while Bill measured in at 6′1″ and 190 pounds. Bill himself earned five varsity letters at MSU and was eventually drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1952. The '45 team was coached by Ray Kipke, for whom Charlevoix's football stadium is now named, and the inspiration behind the change in spelling of the school's nickname from Raiders to Rayders. The '58 Charlevoix squad repeated with an undefeated/unscored upon season coached by Bob's older brother Don Carey, a member of the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame who, along with his brothers, had an outstanding athletic career at Charlevoix. No other high school team in Michigan playing full seasons have ever matched the twin accomplishments of Charlevoix's '45 and '58 teams.
The 1945 Rayders finished 6–0, with shutouts of Grayling, 25–0; Mancelona, 25–0; Boyne City, 33–0; East Jordan, 24–0; Harbor Springs, 64–0; and Pellston, 58–0. That team also went 8–0, won the conference championship, and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the UPI Class C poll. That team was dominant in its own right, outscoring its opponents 260–19.
The '45 unbeaten/unscored upon team came during a truly golden era of football at Charlevoix that included the '58 team. In the 15 years from 1945 to '59, Charlevoix won 11 Northern Michigan Class C Conference championships, six of which were consecutive, and the teams combined for a sensational 92–11–4 record.
The '45 team was composed of Dick Joliffe, Jerry Ypma, Frank Martin, Bill Carey, Bud Fox, Jim Roberts, Bill Joliffe, Don Zietler, Bernie Zietler, Bill Poole, Irving Manville, Nelson Sweitzer, Bob Crain, Dick Hardy, Jack Mol, Bernie Ward Jr., Don Brown, Em Howe, Lyle King, Bob Carey, Vince Olach, Jack Roberts, Cliff Lagerman, Bob Shanahan, Warren Shadko, Dick Donaldson, Arnie Loper, Des Milligan, Jack Kline and Pat Martin. The manager was Charles Fairbanks, who went on to play football at Michigan State University and coached at the University of Oklahoma, Colorado University and in the NFL with the New England Patriots.
Carey was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. The organization's mission and vision are "to honor the outstanding men and women athletes, amateur and professional,whose skills and deeds bring great honor to the State of Michigan."
Carey raised a family of four children with his wife Lynn, eventually settling in the Cincinnati, Ohio suburb of Glendale. His interest in football continued, and he served as an occasional scout for NFL teams. He died after a brief illness in 1988 at age 58.Chosen in 2001 by Athlon Sports