Coach Carter’s Winning Philosophy Is Bigger than Just Baseball

Written with contributions from Connor Ellinor.


Photo by Katelynn Ivy

Coach Carter rallies his team for a late game push to keep the season alive.

Joseph Mook, Design Editor

February 21st marks the first pitch of the Dragons’ 2019 regular season. The team will be looking to continue their historic success under the tutelage of Coach Carter this season, with one of the strongest lineups they’ve had in years.

John Carter is entering his 24th year of coaching at Round Rock High School. Acting as an assistant to John Langerhans during his first few years, Carter took over the head coaching position in 2003 when Langerhans retired. During his 19 year tenure here, Langerhans coached over some of the best players to come out of Central Texas (including a young John Carter) and led the Dragons to the Class 5A state championship in 1997. Langerhans’ legendary tenure would have been a tough act to follow for anyone, much less someone who hadn’t lead their own coaching staff in nine years. Carter had never been someone to bet against, however. In his 15 seasons as a head coach Carter has led the Dragons to 14 winning seasons and more than 300 wins.

“Our expectation as a program is to be a playoff contender every year” Carter said.

His teams have accomplished this goal 12 times since he began in 2003.

“Obviously you want to be successful” Carter said. “I want to maintain the rich tradition that we have here at Round Rock High School, but more importantly I want to make [the players] understand that there is more to life than just baseball. I want to help them become better men, be better fathers, better members of the community.”

The baseball program has a 20 hour volunteer requirement and takes part in “Dragon Scales,” a math enrichment program used to help elementary school students master multiplication by playing a game which has them answer questions to move around the bases of the diamond. The elementary schoolers practice all year to prepare for a head to head math competition against the baseball team when they head back to the school in the spring. Students who round the bases get to attend a RRHS baseball game, go out on the field for the national anthem, and enjoy some free concessions.

“I encourage them to do community outreach and things of that nature through community service and those kind of things” Carter said.” I need them to understand that eventually you’re going to put the baseball glove down, but life is going to continue to move on, so whatever we can do to help prepare them for life after baseball is what we want to do.”

The baseball team’s mentality did not come without input from the players themselves.

“One thing we did a couple years back is we sat down as a group, as a team, and we came up with what we call our core values” Carter said. “I tried to make them understand life beyond baseball and so they established our five core values; accountability, brotherhood, character, grit, and passion. I try to make sure that in everything we do, whether that be in the classroom, on the field, or in the community, that we are portraying those values. We all make mistakes and we have to be forgiven for those but if they can see that you’re human and you’re willing to say ‘I made a mistake’ maybe they can learn from that and it’ll help them down the road.”

Coach Carter’s philosophy of building better men rather than just better baseball players has seen multiple Round Rock players head to the MLB, including John and Jordan Danks and Travis Schlichting, with Tanner Driskill and Mason Thompson being the most recent MLB draftees, and dozens more having moved on to the college level after playing for Carter.

The success of Carter’s teams don’t just boil down to a select few generational players and the teams competitive philosophy, although those things certainly don’t hurt, but the driving force behind this team’s historic success is the relationship Carter has with his players. “The way I look at it is, I have two twin boys that are five years old, but I also have 50 teenage boys that I treat like my own,” Carter said. “I’m not afraid to tell them that I love them. I’m not afraid to tell them that I care about them, but I’m also not afraid to hold them accountable. We try to make it like a family relationship and the job of parenting is loving your children, but also not being their best friend all the time so I kind of treat them like my own.”