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KNOXVILLE — Ken Carter, the inspiration for the movie “Coach Carter,” will speak at the University of Tennessee’s University Center Auditorium 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31.

There will also be a preview showing of the movie at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, in the Hodges Library Auditorium.

Coach Ken Carter

Sponsored by the Black Cultural Programming Committee and the UT chapter of the NAACP, the events are free and open to the public.

Carter is famous for barring his undefeated Richmond (Calif.) High varsity basketball team from playing when they failed to maintain GPA levels. Carter also chose to cancel all basketball related activities and was prepared to forego the rest of the season because 15 of the 45 players were not honoring contracts they had signed earlier in the semester. The contracts stated that the players would achieve certain classroom standards.

Carter’s unwavering commitment to education and the controversy surrounding his decision caught the attention of Hollywood executives. In 2005, a movie was made based on Carter’s life, starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Currently, Carter is the head coach of Slam Ball team the Los Angeles Rumble. In the sport’s 2002 debut season, Carter led his team to become the first world champions.

In addition to coaching, he is owner and operator of Prime Time Publications, Prime Time Sports, and is a promising author.

He is still an advocate for the youth of Richmond, Calif. and remains active in his community. He is dedicated to providing them with opportunities to build positive relationships with their peers as well as adults, and promotes the benefits of a sound sports program.

In November, 2000, Carter traveled from Richmond High School to California’s State Capitol building located in Sacramento. Using only a kick scooter for his journey, the 80-mile trip took three days. The event, “Scooting for Schools and Education,” was implemented in order to draw awareness to the deteriorating state of schools and the need for students, parents, teachers, and school board officials to make a difference.

As a result of “Scooting for Schools and Education,” Richmond High received building enhancements and computers from the Office of the Secretary of Education.

In July, 2002 Carter was invited to present at the Tenth Annual Model Schools Conference held in Washington, D.C. At the conference, he discussed the role that educators play in the development of today’s students, with focus on building character and ethics.

Also in 2002, Carter was granted the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch, which was en route to Salt Lake City, UT.

Carter attended George Fox University, Oregon, and has to his credit the following awards: Harvard Club’s Distinguished Secondary Educator Award, NAACP’s Impact Citizen of the Year Award, California State Lottery/Governor Gray Davis’ Heroes in Education Award, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown’s Leadership Award, California’s Unsung Heroes Award, and the A.N.G. California Boy’s Coach of the Year Award. He has been presented with a Proclamation from the City of Richmond. He was a recipient of CityFlight Newsmagazine’s “Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area” for 2000 in the sports category.

For more information contact the Black Cultural Center at 865-974-4738.