EHS Athletic Program Puts Character First
Chris Carter's goal is not to make future NFL stars, but to make good citizens.
“Everything I have,everything I own, everything I possess is because of the game of baseball,” said Easley High School Athletic Director Chris Carter. “I understand the value of athletics for kids.”
Carter recently spoke to the Easley Rotary Club, and spoke about what the athletic programs at Easley High School focus on.
“Our philosophy at Easley High School is not to make or create NFL football players,” Carter said. “Our philosophy is that we use athletics in an educational setting to help children in their future.
“I believe that a kid who comes through our athletic program will be a much better member of our community because of the lessons that they learn through sports,” he continued. “When they get older, they won't remember the scores of particular games, but they'll remember the friendships they had with their teammates.”
Carter said he has an obligation to ensure Easley High School students are “provided with the best opportunity and experience possible.”
Today's environment makes coaching and teaching difficult, Carter said.
Many kids expected to have things handed to them and speak of their rights, instead of their responsibilities, he said.
Playing sports at Easley High is not a requirement for graduation, Carter said.
“Playing sports at Easley High School is something you earn based on how you act and how you perform,” he said. “It is something that is earned and can be taken away.”
Parents can also make things difficult for coaches.
He used the example of some players' parents' behavior at the recent Big League World Series.
“In a society where we spend so much time in Sunday School, we forget the lessons of Sunday School when we get to the ballpark,” Carter said.
“It is an absolute cancer when a kid looks up to his parent and the parent bashes the coach in front of their child,” he said. “It instantly kills the relationship between the coach and the kid.”
“The coach doesn't coach the parents, he coaches the kids,” Carter said. “It's the kid's experience, and a lot of times parents have a hard time understanding that.”
During his talk, Carter shared what he looks for in a coach.
“Number 1 – a person in education has to love kids,” Carter said. “That's the most important thing for me. I don't care how much football a coach knows. I don't care how much science a teacher knows. If you don't love kids, you're in the wrong profession. Kids are our most valuable asset today and people who love kids will be successful.”
People need to coach for the right reasons.
“Today many people coach for self-gratification,” Carter said. “People coach for 'Look at me.' How does a kid know that their coach cares about them? How do you spell love? You spell it T-I-M-E. You can't fool them. A coach that does it the right way, a coach that cares about kids, will be successful.”
He hopes that Easley High School's athletic legacy is that “we do things the right way.”
“And because we do things the right way, we will win,” Carter said. “There's no question.”
He looks for coaches that are also teachers.
“I've never seen a good coach that wasn't a great teacher,” Carter said. “Coaching is an extension of teaching. The practice field is an extension of the classroom. You show me a coach that doesn't care about his lessons, his assignments – you've got the wrong person.”
He spoke about the late Bill Carr.
“He was a chemistry teacher,” he said. “And he was tough. We will never a sacrifice a coaching position at Easley High School for a bad teacher.
He recalled some valuable advice he received from his father when he was starting out as a coach.
“He asked me, 'Son, are you yelling a lot during the games?'” Carter said.
Carter said he told his father that yes, he was yelling a lot during his teams' games.
“He said, 'Well your practices must be terrible,” Carter said. “'Because if you're teaching them what you're supposed to in practice, there's nothing that should happen during the game that they're not prepared for.'
“Good coaches teach during practice and they coach during the game,” he continued. “That means you're going to have to coach them through their mistakes. But their mistakes should then become the lesson plan for the next day's practice.”
Coaches have to be prepared to teach every day.
“We can't tell our kids that they are to be students first and athletes second if we don't care how our classroom is run or we're not prepared for that day's lesson.”
Carter said athletes at EHS are held accountable.
“We do that in three ways at Easley High School,” Carter said.
Each week, athletes take a report to all their teachers.
The teachers are asked to write one of three things on that weekly progress report: S, N or U.
S stands for Satisfactory.
N stands for “Needs to Run.”
“And U stands for 'You're not going to be around much longer if you don't get it right,'' Carter said. “We hold our kids accountable academically.”
Football Coach Chad Smith has a system he calls PAP.
“PAP stands for Practice After Practice,” Carter said. “You don't want to be in PAP.”
“(The third way is) we hold them accountable for their time,” Carter said.
EHS athletes are required to participate in more than one sport, he said.
“The reason we lose so many freshman after football season is they're unaccounted for in the spring,” he said. “By having them participate in track and field, not only are we helping them with their football skill set, we're also keeping them occupied.”
He also looks for men of God.
“You may be the only Bible that those kids see everyday,” Carter said. “How you react and respond to adversity, those kids will follow you.”
Carter called Smith “the hardest working Christian man I've ever been around.”
“At six o'clock every Tuesday, he leads a devotional to anybody on our campus that wants to attend,” Carter said. “Chad Smith takes kids home from practice every single day, that can't come to practice if he wasn't able to come get them.”
He called Smith “the most valuable asset to the children of our community.”
“It's our responsibility to keep him here,” Carter said.