OKARCHE, Okla. (KFOR) – A beloved coach from Western Oklahoma died this week.
Coach Bob Carter, 79, built a career teaching and coaching high school and small college athletes.
He was best known for his best season: 1979 in Okarche, Oklahoma.
In 1978, the Okarche Warriors made it to the State Championship game and lost.
So in ’79, the road to “The Big House” was especially sweet.
“They were just the grittiest bunch of guys,” said Dean Carter. “And they just really wanted to win.”
David and Dean Carter were on the bench that year, running dead balls and refilling the water cooler.
They are the sons of Okarche Warriors Head Basketball Coach Bob Carter.
“It was just fantastic and overwhelming,” remembers David Carter. “All the boys treated me so well, and to be on the floor in The Big House was just huge.”
Dean remembers the crowd was massive.
“Dad always said it was one of the biggest crowds he’d ever seen.”
In 1979, Okarche was desperate to avenge the defeat of 1978.
The Warriors had a two point lead in the 4th quarter, until the Turner Falcons tied the score and pushed the game into overtime.
Okarche won the title that year.
1979 is the the only State Championship title in Warrior basketball history.
Coach Carter was at Okarche 15 years.
He taught and coached at several high schools and a small college in Western Oklahoma where his reputation was tough but fair.
“He was one of those old school guys who respected the game and all aspects of the game,” said Dean. “He would get technical fouls just because he knew his guys needed it; needed lifted up.”
Carter was the kind of coach and mentor to whom athletes remained connected long after graduation.
“There were always people coming around,” said David. “Even if they moved a couple of hours away. If they were in the country, they’d come see Coach Carter.”
The highlight of Coach Bob Carter’s career may have been the state title winning season of 1978-79.
It was certainly unforgettable for their beloved coach.
But, the true legacy of Coach Carter wasn’t that one state title, but the countless lives shaped in the classroom and on the court.
Bob Carter was married to his wife, Mary John Carter, for 59 years.
They have two sons and a daughter, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was 79-years-old at the time of his death on Dec. 23rd.