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Coach Ken Carter on Leadership and Accountability On and Off the Court.


Written by Edgard Lacayo

As part of its speaker series, Pi Lambda Phi invited Coach Ken Carter to give a talk on leadership and accountability at Roanoke College. The event was held at the Cregger Center and was attended by many students, faculty, staff, and outside visitors. The event was opened by Pi Lambda Phi president Sam Carpenter, who was described as an impressive young man. In his speech, he highlighted some of the recent achievements of Pi Lambda Phi such as achieving the Greek chapter of the year award and campus event of the year award from Roanoke College, as well as receiving certificates of achievement from Pi Lambda Phi headquarters in the fields of community service, philanthropy, campus engagement, civic engagement, and community engagement. He also highlighted some of the charities the fraternity has raised money for in the past such as RAM house, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, just to name a few. President Carpenter also expressed his excitement in restarting Pi Lambda Phi and Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation series. President Maxey then introduced Coach Carter along with a clip of the Coach Carter movie. The clip was interrupted by a loud and energetic blow from a whistle. 

Immediately, Coach Carter jumped up from the crowd and exclaimed that he did not have time to watch a movie and that he wanted to jump right into the lecture. Coach Carter had a very energetic style of lecturing. He was highly interactive with the audience and at one point even made a freshman and Pi Lam brother Skyler Frye do pushups as a light-hearted punishment for having the wrong answer to his questions. He stressed to us the value of finding what motivates you and others to achieve your goals. “You always must have something that gets you going in the morning” he repeatedly said throughout the lecture. He gave us the example that he motivated his female basketball team by offering them a shopping trip if they won, which they did. He even claimed that after parenting, the most important profession is coaching. His style of coaching placed importance in instilling good values among his teams and believed these should be instilled in all young people. Values such as placing academics before athletics, developing character and accountability, respect, humility, and service towards others. Coach Carter also commented on how we can follow his advice here at Roanoke College. He compared college students to fish out of the water. We are trying to find our footing in life in college. To do this college students must develop their minds and learn to be ready to be the right person at the right time to be successful. Part of developing this mindset is learning that life will knock you down sometimes and that when you fall you have to fall on your back because if you can look up, you can get up. “You gotta live life and sometimes it hurts but you have the ability to make it good” he told us. That was the most important message he left the audience. We must live life and must make the most of what we have. A great example he gave us was that of his friend who sold drugs when he was young; he still sells drugs, but he is a pharmacist now. 

After Coach Carter finished his lecture, Professor Steve Baker proceeded to present two scholarships to Roanoke College students. These were merit-based scholarships which were awarded by Pi Lambda Phi to two deserving Roanoke College freshmen. 

It was an inspiring talk for all who attended with Coach Carter’s unique ability to make us laugh while still teaching valuable lessons about life.