Coach Ken Carter: Leadership and Accountability: On and Off the Court

Coach Ken Carter: Leadership and Accountability: On and Off the Court

Contact: Community Programs - - Tanya Ridpath, Director

Coach Ken Carter Hosted by: Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity in conjunction with the Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation


Complimentary tickets are required and available here or at the Colket Center info desk beginning Sept. 1.


Complimentary Registration is required for the virtual lecture.

"Average is Just Not Good Enough, PERIOD!" - Coach Carter

When famed high school basketball coach Ken Carter literally locked his undefeated, state play-off bound team out of the gym and forced them to hit the books and stop counting on athletic potential as the only ticket out of a tough, inner-city life, he sent a powerful message. The film, Coach Carter, is just one more testimony to the strength of his convictions. At the podium, Coach Carter scores with hard-hitting advice about accountability, integrity, teamwork and leadership to succeed both on and off the basketball court.

A successful businessman when he accepted the head basketball coach position at Richmond High School (Richmond, CA) in 1997, Ken Carter had a monumental task at hand. The students were failing academically at an alarming rate, and the athletic programs were in a pathetic state. Within two years, Ken Carter had virtually single-handedly turned around the school, physically cleaning up (trash, graffiti, drug dealers), and mentally cleaning house as well. A contract which each player and his parents signed spelled out crucial rules of conduct: treat others with respect; shun drugs and alcohol; sit in the front of class and participate; wear suit and tie on game day; and maintain a minimum of a 2.3 GPA. And when not all the players lived up to these obligations, the play-off bound, undefeated Richmond Oilers (13-0)--including Carter's own son, Damien--were locked out of the gym and pulled from any basketball-related activities to learn how to " rise as a team." Academically solid players tutored weaker ones, and the whole team improved their GPAs. Most importantly, these inner-city students ultimately returned not just to the court, but to a new standard of winning, one which transcended the hoop dreams of high school, to college educations and futures they might never have imagined for themselves.

In addition to coaching SlamBall's champion team, The Rumble, Ken Carter is a business entrepreneur and an author. He is also founder and chairman of the Coach Ken Carter Foundation, a non-profit organization which develops, promotes and provides education, training and mentoring programs for minority youths. In 2002, he was selected to carry the Olympic torch for the San Francisco Bay Area/Richmond California. 

About the Sponsors:
Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity in conjunction with the Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation established the lecture series in 2014.  The purpose of the lecture series is to provide students with outside of the classroom opportunities to hear from leaders like Coach Ken Carter.  The chosen presenter demonstrates success in leadership and understands the critical importance of fulfilling their role as a moral and ethical compass for all individuals and embraces the position with enthusiasm and compassion. In addition to the lecture, the endowed series presents scholarship funds to current Roanoke College students’ who demonstrate strong leadership. 
COVID Precautions:
Based upon recommendations from the CDC and because of COVID-19 surges in our region and across the country, Roanoke College will require everyone on campus to wear a mask in indoor settings starting on August 16 through the end of September. This change is based on the best medical recommendations at this time and based on our experience in managing COVID-19. Masks help to lessen the likelihood of infections and therefore should help us to gather our Maroon community on campus and in classrooms with a decreased chance of a back-to-school surge.  
Please note that the College continues to closely monitor COVID-19 cases in our region and may need to adjust, postpone, or cancel in-person and on-campus events and meetings to ensure the health and safety of our Maroon community.