Patrick Williams Returns to Carter High School as New Head Coach

September 28, 2011 by · Comments Off 


By Lauren Scheinin

Members of the Carter Cowboys wait on the field for practice to start. (Photo by Lauren Scheinin)

Around 5 p.m. one day recently, as the sun began to set, the Carter High School football team runs out to practice in their red and white uniforms. The football field is dry from the lack of rain, and void of hash marks and numbers. This field has a special meaning to Carter’s new head coach, Patrick Williams, who stands at the sidelines. For him, this is home.

“I think the community was hungry for their own; someone that’s from this area and familiar with this area and the history,” Williams said.

Williams attended Carter from 1987 to 1991 and was the running back on the 1988 Carter Cowboys team that won the state championship. He spent the last five years as an assistant coach at Lancaster High School. Excited and humbled by the new opportunity at Carter, Williams said he is up for the challenge.

“I think I can help bring tradition back,” he said.

After graduating from Carter High School in 1991, Williams received a football scholarship to attend the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, where he planned to major in hotel management. During a meeting with his advisor his sophomore year, he was told to think about someone who really enjoyed their job. Williams closed his eyes and immediately thought of his Carter football coach, Freddie James.

Williams packed his bags and transferred to Florida A&M University, where he majored in education and followed his dream of coaching. Williams, now the father of three, said he never thought he’d be back at Carter.

Williams has been stressing the importance of education to his team ever since becoming head coach. With daily mentoring and tutoring sessions, he is trying to make players understand the importance of going to college and is pushing them to work for it.

“My job right now is to make an impact on the students, teachers and community – to model success and help them be successful. That is my number one job,” Williams said.

While Williams is passionate about football, he does not want his players to take the game for granted and is trying to show them not to neglect their schoolwork.

“My motto is, ‘You can’t see your way to college,’ and I’m not talking about your eyes. I’m talking about those C’s on your transcript,” he said.

Coach Patrick Williams practicing drills with the varsity team. The Carter Cowboys have been working on their defense and passing the ball more. (Photo by Lauren Scheinin)

D’Cardio Cottonham, 17, a senior at Carter High School and one of the varsity team captains, understands the balance of schoolwork and football.

“Coach always says, school is first and football is second,” said Cottonham, who is ranked number one in his senior class.

Courtney Arnick, who is 17 and the other varsity team captain, is also ranked at the top of his senior class. Arnick says there have been a lot of changes since Williams has taken over the team, from putting more emphasis on schoolwork and running more practice drills, to sticking together as a team.

“It just takes one person to bring the team down and we have to stay together as a team,” said Arnick, explaining the Cowboys’ motto, “our land, our Carter.”

Although the team lost their first four games, they have been working on throwing the ball more and running new defense. Cottonham says this year is harder but better, and believes his team is ready for the upcoming games.

Scott Jackson, the athletic director of Carter High School, said that ever since Williams was hired in late July he has acted quickly to improve the team. The community has responded well to his new position.

The community has been supporting the team by attending games; however, Williams believes they could be doing more to help the team succeed. Looking into the future, Williams hopes to one day have the resources to build more advanced facilities for his team, such an indoor facility or a turf field. But for now, he just wants to be surrounded by positive support.

“There are so many little things people could do to contribute to the success of Carter and I just really want the community to open their eyes and see what’s going on,” said Williams. “But it’s going to take some time – this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”