Marlow mourns loss of Coach Carter
MARLOW, Okla (KSWO) - The town of Marlow is grieving the loss of a true pillar of its community. Bill Carter passed away Monday at the age of 94. Better known as Coach Carter, he spent the last 35 years molding, mentoring and supporting student athletes in Stephens County. His impact is one that will be felt for years to come in Outlaw country.
"I mean you ask anyone from Marlow, they know who Coach Carter is," said Jessica Garvin, executive director at West Wind Assisted Living. "The legacy he's leaving behind is incredible. I mean my six year old knows who he is."
"Just a wealth of knowledge and you know how to handle kids, how to talk to kids, how to be a positive role model, and what a role model coach was for all of us," Marlow football coach Rob Renshaw said.
A World War II veteran, Bill Carter spent 33 years coaching football and track in Texas, making stops in Wichita Falls and Iowa Park among others. He retired in 1981 and moved to Marlow with his wife Evelyn. He instantly ingrained himself in the school district, where even as a volunteer coach, his passion and energy was easy to see.
"One of our lineman was always bragging about how fast he was. Coach Carter said 'you can't even outrun me' and of course it was on. Coach Carter and this guy lined up on the line and ran a 40-yard dash and Coach Carter smoked him. I mean he beat him by 15 yards and it was pretty amazing," said Marlow track coach Bobby Wortham, who played for Carter in 1982.
As he aged, that energy level declined a bit, but Coach Carter stayed involved and remained a valuable resource for coaches and athletes.
"To have him on our staff, wow. What was so fun was you could ask him any question about track and he knew everything," Wortham said. "If we needed help with hurdlers, coach could you go coach hurdlers? Coach can you go coach long jumpers? Coach can you go coach anything? He knew it. His specialty was shot and disc."
"He would come to football practice all of the time and he'd help with the kids out there. You're talking about a guy in his late 80's and 90's and was still very active in our school district," said Marlow superintendent George Coffman. "I've hauled him to state track meets. I've hauled him to ballgames. He's gone on the bus many different times with us. He wasn't just a guy that was on the sideline. He was a guy that was an active member."
Despite all of his years spent coaching, it's Coach Carter's generosity off the field that will be remembered most.
"We won two State Championships in '14 and '15 and it was his idea, hey lets have a carnival. Lets raise some money so those kids don't have to pay for their rings," Wortham said. "Those two years, we raised enough money where those kids didn't have to pay for their rings."
"He had so much faith and compassion and love for those kids that it was pretty incredible. He had so many other things in his life from a medical standpoint to be concerned about," Garvin said. "But instead he was worried about the kids and what they had and what they didn't have and what they were blessed with and what they weren't blessed with. He was so focused on making sure that they were all taken care of."
Even as his health declined in recent weeks, Coach Carter's focus remained on improving the lives of Marlow's youth. One of his last wishes was to set up a scholarship fund. You can make donations to the Coach Carter Scholarship Fund at any BancFirst location. Funeral services will be held at three o'clock Thursday afternoon at the Marlow High School gym.
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