Coach Ken Carter to Speeak at Big
Brothers Big Sisters BIG Gala
A No Nonsense Approach
|Coach Ken Carter founded the Coach
Carter Impact Academy in Marlin, Texas
women, get a chance to make their living playing some type of professional sport. Give them the numbers and let them do the math. It’s not
rocket science. They understand.”
Youth will always pick an option based on the options that are available to them.
“If there is only dirty water around, when you get thirsty enough, you drink it,” Carter emphasized. “But if you have clean water around, people
are going to take the other option if they have it. That’s where education comes in. Education gives you the option. If you look at the difference
between having absolutely nothing and acquiring things in life, it is through education.”
The Impact Academy fills the days of the students with so much activity that they have no problem falling asleep at night. Their school day lasts
from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and in addition to their school work, they have to do other tasks such as work in the school gardens.
“Everyone works in the garden period,” Carter said. “And we plant every vegetable under the sun, from corn to watermelon to cucumbers to
broccoli to asparagus, mustard greens, turnip greens, and sweet potatoes. You name it, we plant it. We grow some of the biggest and
healthiest vegetables around because it is natural. We only use rainwater. We catch it off the roof. We give the vegetables tender loving care,
just like kids. Weeds don’t need cultivation to grow. They grow anywhere and outperform the vegetables if you don’t pull it out because it’s
been around for 30 million years. It’s got a certain amount of hustle in it. But our vegetables, we have to nurture them. And once it gets a
certain size, its nature turns on, ready to go. But you have to nurture them when they are young when you first plant the seed because that old
weed will grow anywhere. It will even grow in the concrete. How can you get weeds and grass in the concrete? It will find a way.”
And Carter uses the same kind of tough love with his students that he used at Richmond High. “We use some common sense,” Carter said.
“So if a kid doesn’t turn in his homework, we take his desk away for a few days and let him sit on the floor. Somehow magically, when they get
their desk back, they turn in their homework.”
Carter emphasized that it’s not being correct that is important as a parent; it’s a matter of hanging in there tough with your children with a
sense of spirituality as the foundation.
“Parents don’t always have to be correct,” Carter said. “Parents today always think that they need to be correct. They always have to be right.
Kids don’t come with a manual. If you walked into 80 percent of people’s houses back in the day when DVDs first came out, they just take it out
of the box and never read the instructions. They just plug it in and put in the DVD. And it flashes 12:00 all the time. You have to read the
instructions. Think about it. I bought a toothpick the other day. And it came with instructions. A toothpick came with instructions on the box.
Everything we purchase in this world comes with instructions. And I call it the Good Book. I don’t know how religious I am, but I am very
spiritual. When you look at the BIBLE, it is the acronym for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. If you have trials and tribulations, you have
to read the manual.”
Carter also believes in old-fashioned respect for people, no matter what their age.
“I always tell people that I wouldn’t have a movie in Hollywood if I didn’t say ‘yes ma’am and no sir,’” Carter said with a laugh. “They couldn’t
remember my name in Hollywood. They would say, ‘Who’s the real polite young man?’ ‘Oh, that’s Coach Carter.’ I was the ‘Yes Ma’am No Sir’
guy. That was my training from when I was a young man. It was mandatory that we say that and it’s mandatory of everyone at my school and
everyone around me. If we start demanding more from our youth, guess what? They will deliver.”
Coach Ken Carter will bring his no nonsense philosophy to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County’s BIG Gala on June 18, 5:30 p.m., at the
Madison Marriott Hotel. For more information, contact Sandy Morales at (608) 661-4393 firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jonathan Gramling
Coach Ken Carter, subject of the Hollywood movie Coach Carter and the keynote speaker at the Big
Brothers Big Sisters BIG Gala June 18th at the Madison Marriott West, burst on the national scene
back in 1999 when he locked out his undefeated Richmond High School team because some
members of the team weren’t following the academic and behavior contracts they had signed with
him. While he caught a lot of flack at first, public opinion eventually came back his way when people
understood his method of tough love for the young men under his wing.
“What made Coach Carter, Ken Carter, starts with family,” Carter said via telephone. “And family has
certain rules and regulations starting with integrity — that’s what I am going to talk about —
accountability, being a great follower before you can ever be a great leader and then being a part of a
Carter no longer coaches high school basketball. He has turned to writing and opened the Coach
Carter Impact Academy in 2013 in the small town of Marlin, Texas. It serves 150 students and can
board up to 64 of them. The students come from poverty-level families. Carter is into giving youth
opportunities and options.
“You have to be straightforward with kids,” Carter said. “In my own arena, I’m a coach. When you
talk to any kids these days, when you ask the question, ‘How many of you want to make your living in
entertainment or sports,’ in a room of 100 kids, probably 80 percent of them want to raise their hand.
And yet, when you look at professional sports, only one in every 500,000 people, both men and