Coach Carter Speaks to Students on Value of Education

Coach Carter Speaks to Students on Value of Education
Coach Ken Carter speaks to students about attaining success and setting goals at a reception during a recent visit to Cal Poly Pomona.
Ken Carter, the man who inspired the recent movie Coach Carter, spoke to nearly 150 Cal Poly Pomona students about the importance of education and teamwork.

Ken Carter, the man whose story inspired the recent movie Coach Carter, spoke to more than 150 Cal Poly Pomona students about the importance of education and teamwork during a speech titled “Built to Win” on March 7 in the University Theatre.

Carter is the controversial high school basketball coach who made national news in 1999 when he benched his undefeated Richmond High boys' basketball team due to the players' poor academic records.

Now an author and motivational speaker, Carter spoke to students about attaining success, winning against all odds, setting goals and putting family first. Following the presentation was a question and answer session and autographs.

During his speech, Carter emphasized that, in the phrase “student athlete,” the word “student” comes first. Access, education, accountability and integrity are key factors in being successful in life, he said.

“You don't get paid by the hour, you get paid by the value you bring to the hour,” he said. “The skills you are learning here on this campus are going to add to your value.”

Carter told the students that they are “one-third of the population, but 100 percent of our future.”

“You guys are our future, and we must invest everything we have into you and your education,” he said.

To reach long-term goals, Carter advised students to come up with a game plan and write it down.

“When you write down the things you want in life, they become magical,” he said. “Great things are going to happen if you write it down.”

Carter said he was excited to learn that Cal Poly Pomona's men's and women's basketball teams both made it to this year's NCAA Division II West Region playoffs, and he encouraged the campus community to support the teams.

“This is one thing everyone can get behind because everybody is part of a team — the Cal Poly Pomona team,” he said. “A team will make you successful and will support you when you fail.”

His advice for the basketball teams was to “play hard.” “Just continue to do whatever helps to make you successful,” he said. “Don't change the game plan.”

Carter's visit was initiated by professor James Swartz's Marketing the Movies course for entertainment business majors. The class is working with Paramount Pictures toward preparing a business plan for the DVD release of the movie Coach Carter.

A number of campus organizations came together to make this event possible: College of Business Administration, Associated Students Inc. Bronco Events & Activities Team, Office of the President, Bronco Athletics, I&IT MediaVision & Studio Six and the Theatre department.

To view video streaming of Coach Carter's speech, visit