Coach Antoine Carter Sr. remembered for legacy on and off the field

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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EDGARD — Coach Antoine Lee Carter Sr. lived his life for family and football, and he always strived to be the mentor he would have wanted as a young man growing up in the Upper Ninth Ward. His illustrious coaching career, which included notable stints as a defensive coordinator and linebacker coach at West St. John and St. James High School, came to an end when Carter passed away suddenly on July 5, 2023 following a battle with leukemia.

The same morning, the administration of St. James High School sent out a letter to the community in which Principal Shane M. Kliebert described him as “a role model, a source of inspiration, and a pillar of support for all who had the privilege of knowing him.”

Carter graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 1995 and obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern University A&M. He spent the past 20 years as an educator, coach and leader.

He started his coaching career in East Baton Rouge Parish at West Dale Middle School and Istrouma High School before moving on to Scotlandville and McKinley.Carter arrived at West St. John High School in 2008 and coached the Rams through 2014. He also spent time on the East Bank of the Parish at East St. John Preparatory Academy before returning to West St. John from 2019 to 2020. He spent the final years of his coaching career at St. James High School.

As much as Carter loved coaching, his first love was his family. He left behind a wife, four children, four grandchildren, eight godchildren, and a host of relatives and friends. Carter’s son, Antoine Carter Jr., remembers his father as one of the funniest people you could ever meet. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, he could make someone laugh in every situation.

Antoine Jr. was also thankful to have been coached by his father during his senior year. After every game, he would switch seamlessly from coach back to father, never missing a chance to tell his child how proud he was of him. Since his father’s passing, Antoine Jr. has seen numerous Facebook requests filter through, a testament to the sheer number of lives he touched in 46 short years on Earth.

“He had a lot of people in his life who were inspired by him and felt indebted to him because he pushed them into being better people,” Antoine Jr. said. “I asked him before, ‘How do you keep going?’ It’s hard sometimes to get up and go to work. He said he does it for the kids. He didn’t have someone to show him the right moves to make, so he wanted to be that person for the youth.”

Terrebonne High School football coach Tyler Lewis has considered Carter to be his role model since they met on West St. John’s football field. Lewis was a senior at the time, and Carter was his linebacker coach. After Lewis graduated, Carter encouraged him to dive into the coaching world. A few years later, he was fortunate to coach alongside Carter at both West St. John and St. James.

“I learned a lot from him, like how every kid is different, and you have to find a way to reach them. I learned how to be a professional in the sports world; how to be a better man; how to make society better; that’s what he was all about,” Lewis said.

A full version of this story will appear in the upcoming edition of River Parishes Magazine publishing this month.