|Title:||Assistant to the Head Coach|
Chris McCarter joins the women's basketball staff for the third season. His responsibilities include assisting in overseeing the academic pursuits of the women's basketball players, specifically in the areas of English and the Social Sciences/Humanities, and assisting recruiting efforts, especially for the state of Florida. Coach McCarter manages study sessions and tutoring sessions. "I have been extremely happy with his efforts in getting our players to work ahead of time on assignments, projects, and papers, pushing them to develop a finished product they can be proud of. He is teaching them skills that are irreplaceable for their academic success at this level and the next," according to Head Coach Chanda Stebbins.
Coach McCarter is also very active in the recruiting efforts of the program. He manages Santa Fe's recruiting efforts in the state of Florida, with special responsibility for making sure that Santa Fe's service-district high school players are watched in action numerous times throughout their senior season. "Of course, we as a program realize that many local kids want to get out of Gainesville, but Chris does an exceptional job of keeping an eye on local talent as they move up to their senior year in the event they would consider Santa Fe." He travels the state from Jacksonville to the Tampa Bay area, including the state tournament in Lakeland, to evaluate talent. He helped Santa Fe sign four outstanding players this past year who played in Lakeland (Reid, Richardson, Coney, and Edwards). "Chris has a keen eye for talent and ability and understands what we are looking for with respect to character. He consistently helps find those quality players and people that will be successful at Santa Fe," Stebbins added.
Coach McCarter's resume is a perfect fit for the program. He graduated in 1964 from Ft. Myers Senior High, where he was co-valedictorian. He has a Bachelor's degree from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg and a Master's degree from the University of Florida. In between obtaining those degrees, he served three years in the US Army's Military Intelligence branch. After graduating from UF, McCarter continued to live in Gainesville. For 32 years, he drove down Highway 441 to teach at North Marion High School, where he had the distinction of never missing a day.
In the mid-90's, in part because he had become a big fan of the Lady Gators, he began to assist with girls basketball at North Marion. At various times, he served as the game announcer for both girls and boys basketball.
Upon retirement in 2006, McCarter volunteered for a couple of years as a tutor for the women's basketball team at Central Florida Community College (now the College of Central Florida). He moved to Santa Fe for the 2009-10 season in part to avoid the commute to Ocala. Although he was never a competitive athlete and is not a traditional coach, he brings to this program a life-long commitment to physical fitness and good nutrition, an appreciation for athletic conditioning and training, and great enthusiasm for both practices and games. His extensive teaching experience and his strong commitment to helping young people develop as learners and players is imperative to Santa Fe's success. "I really like how Chris uses each tutoring session with a student to teach them life lessons on producing quality work. He is 'old school' in a lot of ways and really gets the players to put a lot of time into their papers and assignments, which I think sends a strong message about what it takes to be successful academically at the next level," said Stebbins. Coach McCarter's focus remains on preparing players for academic success, first at Santa Fe and then at their next college or university. Lanita Bartley, former Saint and current University of Florida student-athlete, commented, "Mr. McCarter really challenged me to be a better and more complete writer. I know it is paying off now."