Many have seen the movie Coach Carter starring Samuel L. Jackson who played a high school basketball coach that changed lives and changed a culture and community around a high school basketball team.
Over at South Mountain high school in Phoenix, another Coach Carter is looking to do the exact same thing.
When new Jaguar head coach Mark Carter arrived at South Mountain, there were 13 at his first meeting. But word began to spread of the philosophies, excitement and change that he was bringing heading into their first season and that small group of 13 has since turned into 75 between junior varsity and varsity the week of their first game Friday against Maryvale.
On Thursday afternoon before their first game week walk-through, Coach Carter and his staff brought their team into the locker room and made them put their backs to their locker. Coach exemplified that he told them in the beginning that their time, effort and sacrifices would reward them. Right there on Thursday, he was a man of his word and unveiled all new equipment in their lockers. The equipment consisted of brand new all white Nike cleats, Nike socks, new helmets with new South Mountain decals, warmup shirts and shorts and new girdles. It was Christmas in August for his team.
“These kids have been through a lot,” said Carter. “This is about changing lives. We tell them we love them every day, we tell them we appreciate them every day and it’s good as a coach to see a smile on a kids face. That is up there with winning state championships.”
Coach Carter is running with the slogan “CTC” standing for change the culture and the young Jags are buying in. On the field, the coaches have completely started all over with this team with everything from their schemes through their fundamentals. They have moved to the spread offense and have worked with quarterback Jeremiah Williams to where they think he will make a big jump this season. They have worked with him on everything including holding the ball right in his hand when he throws. Running back Robert Williams was the runner up in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meter dashes last season in division II and could have game breaking speed for the Jaguars offense.
In addition to all this excitement for the team heading into their first game, Coach Carter also became a father as his wife gave birth to their first child early thursday morning. It is safe to say the momentum around this program is as high as we’ve seen it in quite some time.