Christmas is in the rear-view mirror and New Year’s Eve is around the corner. The sun is shining, but it’s cold, at least by Florida standards, and the wind is adding a hint of chill to the air. Yet, here is Tony Carter, one of the most recognizable and most respected football coaches in Navarre, working with a handful of players from the Navarre High football team during the holiday break. They are running sprints and running routes during a casual voluntary workout session.
Carter doesn’t have to be here on a worn-down practice field behind Bennett C. Russell Stadium. The Raiders’ running backs coach could be off enjoying the break like so many others would be, perhaps watching a bowl game on television or getting a jump start on plans to ring in 2017.
But this runs deeper than football. This is about keeping a group of teenagers active and being a positive influence in their lives.
Carter can relate to the importance of a role model. He was raised in a single-parent home. His mom worked three jobs to make ends meet. His coaches helped keep him on the right path.
“With the absence of a father, my coaches were my father figures. … They took the time to keep me out of certain situations that I could have been in,” Carter said. “For me, yeah, those workouts are a way to keep the kids busy and keep them occupied, and to keep them doing things that will help them get better as football players. It also feeds my soul and allows me to give back some of the things that were given to me.”
A former running back at the college and pro level – he played at South Carolina State and for a pro team in Japan while serving in the United States Air Force – Carter brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and a passion for the game that few can match.
Read the full article in the June 15 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.