Coaches Corner-Chris Carter: Byrnes High School has new sheriff in town, his name is Chris Carter. Carter (left) just completed his second season as the Rebels top cop after a successful run as the head coach at Easley. One of South Carolina’s brightest baseball minds, Carter is one of the really good guys in our sport. He combines a fiery desire to win, a quick wit and pours himself into his players. Carter spent some time with Diamond Prospects at the conclusion of the spring season, enjoy his candid responses.
DP-How many years have you been in coaching?
CC-I have been a baseball coach for nine years. The first three years were in Florida and the last six years in South Carolina.
DP-What is the most rewarding thing about being a baseball coach?
CC-The most rewarding thing for me is the relationships that you create with kids, other coaches from being involved in baseball. Almost all of my friends are involved in the game in some form or another.
DP-What does the term “coach” mean to you?
CC-‘Coach’ is a very special term for me because I believe that in today’s society, the most influential people in the lives of teenagers are their coaches. It includes being a friend, a critic, a fan, a counselor, a father figure, a role model and many other things.
DP-What is something you wish everyone knew about your profession?
CC-That being a Head Coach is not a glamorous position. It is much easier to be an Assistant Coach than to be a Head Coach. The time that the job requires off the field is often overwhelming.
DP-What is your definition of a “student-athlete?”
CC-A kid that has earned the right to participate based on how they have performed and behaved in the classroom. Being a member of a high school program is a privilege that has to be earned. It is not a requirement for graduation from that school.
DP-We always hear how players have superstitions, I know coaches do too. Do you have anything interesting?
CC-After a win, I always get a strawberry milkshake for the ride home. This year we played the song “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond in the middle of the fifth and we scored five runs and came back from behind to win. The rest of the year that song was played in the middle of the fifth.
DP-What is your most memorable experience as a baseball coach?
CC-Winning the State Championship in 1996 and Making the Upper State Playoffs in 2001. Attending the graduations and weddings of my former players
DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball coach and why?
CC-Coach Jack Leggett,he proved to me that you may not have the best players but that you can out-work other teams and be competitive. He also taught me that if you pay attention to the details, that it will pay off in the long run.
DP-Who are the best three players you have ever coached against?
CC-Patrick Boyd, Jason Place, Matt Campbell
DP-Who do you think are the top three players in your area right now?
CC-Max Greer (Laurens), Justin Hopper (Lexington) and Scott Wingo (Mauldin).
DP-What does it mean to be a good teammate and is that important?
CC-A good teammate leads by example and does more than what is expected from their coach. As they say, the only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little extra. It is important because good teammates often times become your best friends.
DP-What do you see as the biggest difference in high-school aged players today versus ten years ago?
CC-Ten years ago players talked about the responsibilities and obligations. Today’s kids talk about their rights and privileges.
DP-We often hear about the “politics” that surround high school baseball. What is your philosophy on this subject and on dealing with the parents of your players.
CC-I have a great relationship with the parents in my program. We have a pre-season meeting in which we establish the rules and they have followed them. I spend more time with their children in the spring than my own and, for the most part, they respect that.
DP-What high school rule(s) would you change?
CC-I don’t think the season starts at the best time of the year. I think we should be able to have a certain number of practices in January so that we can take advantage of the good weather days. I also believe that kids should be able to play more games on the jv and varsity levels. Some kids may be a pitcher on jv and a position player on varsity. The rules for football allow kids to play on both Thursday and Friday nights. I also think the 3 on 1 rule is terrible.
DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why?
CC-My wife, Amy. She is the person that I admire the most. She is a blessing to me.
DP-What MLB feat in history do you wish you’d been inside the stadium to witness and why?
CC-The Boston Red Sox beating the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS after being down 3-0. That was awesome for a Red Sox fan.
DP-Who is your favorite athlete (non-baseball)?
CC-Willy Korn, he is one of the greatest kids I have ever coached
DP-Who is your favorite MLB pitcher and position player to watch and why?
CC-Jonathan Papelbon and David Ortiz. They fight each pitch of each at bat everyday.
DP-Who is your favorite MLB team?
CC-Let’s Go Red Sox
DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball?
CC-I don’t really play any other sport.
DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball?
CC-It is not soccer for sure!
DP-What are some of your hobbies?
CC-I am an avid turkey hunter but I am terrible at it!
DP-What is something people don’t know about you?
CC-The fact that I have four children that are a joy!
DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why?
CC-Bill Buckner–How did that happen? Roger Clemens–Just to talk about baseball. My family-It seems like I never get home in time to do that anymore.
DP-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CC-I am afraid to even think about that because my kids will almost be gone!! I hope still involved in education and making a difference.
DP-Now switching gears, think back to your days as a baseball player, please list any notable accolades:
CC-Playing at Clemson was a great honor and getting drafted by the Brewers was a great experience.
DP-What is your greatest high school thrill?
CC-I was picked to play in the State High School All Star game after my senior year.
DP-What is your greatest thrill, or two, beyond high school?
CC-Meeting my wife and being a Dad. Killing a big eleven point buck from my best friends stand!! Winning the ACC Championship at Clemson.
DP-Who were the three best players you played against?
CC-Jason Varitek, Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez
DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why?
CC-My parents because they believed in me when no one else did.
DP-What are your thoughts on what Diamond Prospects can do, and has done, for kids in South Carolina?
CC-High School baseball is about the kid’s experience and they really appreciate the coverage that they receive from Diamond Prospects.
DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice.
CC-Coach Bill Wilhelm once told me, “Baseball is a lot like shaving, if you don’t work at it everyday, it can get ugly in a hurry”.
DP-Great responses, great year. Thanks coach!