July 8, 2005
Contact: Joshua Hollis
Coach Ken Carter to speak at MUW
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Coach Ken Carter, best known for
locking out his undefeated California high school
basketball team because of their grades, will speak at
Mississippi University for Women on August 13 at 9 a.m.
in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall.
The story of the lockout and its consequences, which was
followed by an intense media interest because of
Carter’s willingness to put grades over games, was
recently released as a major motion picture from
Paramount Pictures and MTV Films starring Samuel L.
Dr. Suzanne Bean, director of the Roger F. Wicker Center
for Creative Learning, said, “I saw the `Today’ show
interview with Coach Carter and felt that he has a
powerful message about learning for all educators,
parents and students.”
In an interview with Carter, who is originally from
McComb and credits that location with his success, he
said his speech would focus on “accountability, having
integrity in your life [and] becoming a great follower
before becoming a great leader…”
Carter believes the film, which he said was 98 percent
truth with the exception of name and location changes,
has a positive effect because it has given him a
platform to share his story. “Education is just as
important or more important than anything in our lives.”
He said every parent wants his or her child to be
educated, respectful and successful.
He added parents and children who watch the movie both
will come away with something. “It’s phenomenal,” he
said, noting emails received from around the world about
the movie and how it has affected viewers’ lives.
Carter also offered his thoughts on some major issues
facing basketball and sports in general. He didn’t feel
there was a major problem revolving around high school
basketball players who move straight to the NBA without
a stopover in college. “There are very few to [actually]
get drafted.” However, he noted some agents were
misleading some of these athletes by making them believe
they are the chosen one. He said it needs to work hand
in hand where these high school athletes are required to
take some college courses during the off season.
Regarding the Indiana Pacers/Detroit Pistons game in
which a fight broke out among players and spectators and
how that could be seen as a breakdown in player
discipline, Carter said “We just need to make our
professional athletes more accountable.”
He added National Basketball Association commissioner
David Stern sent a very clear message that this type of
behavior wouldn’t be tolerated.
Carter said the congressional hearings on steroid use in
baseball were unnecessary. “I don’t feel that’s any
place for Congress,” he said, adding that Congress had
enough issues with which to be concerned.
Bean said, “We are so excited about him coming to
Columbus and we hope we can get a huge crowd to hear
If the attendees take anything away from his speech,
Carter said it should be that “not all of us can become
famous but all of us can become great because greatness
is defined and always will be defined by the service we
give to others.”