By D.N. PENNELL, Jr.
On Tuesday night, February 9, Alexander Central High School finalized plans to hire the school’s seventh head football coach in 46 years.
Butch Carter, who led the South Caldwell Spartans to the third round of the NCHSAA 4AA Playoffs this past season, was approved as the school’s new coach at the monthly Alexander County Board of Education meeting held Tuesday night at the County Office Building on Liledoun Road.
Carter, 45, replaces Nick Bazzle who announced his retirement from teaching and coaching in early January. Bazzle spent four seasons at ACHS, compiling a record of 17-29 at the school. He will teach in the school’s PE Department and will join the staff officially on February 15.
"ACHS is excited to name an individual the caliber of Butch Carter as the next head football coach. Coach Carter comes to ACHS with a very impressive resume, and I look forward to him adding to the resume," ACHS Principal Doug Rhoney said Tuesday night. "Butch brings so many great qualities to the table, his best is the sense of professionalism that just resonates when you meet Butch. We can’t wait until August."
A native of Caldwell County and former football player at South Caldwell, Carter spent the past 15 seasons as head coach at his alma mater. He announced his resignation at the conclusion of the 2015 regular season and it became official after the team’s third round playoff loss in November.
In 15 seasons in Sawmills, Carter built a one-time dismal South Caldwell program into one of the strongest 4A teams in Western North Carolina. He is the winningest coach in the history of the South Caldwell program with a 104-78 career mark. He led South to two NW Conference championships and 11 playoff appearances during his tenure. Two Coach Carter-led Spartan teams advanced to round three of the NCHSAA playoffs, including the 2015 squad.
Carter was voted the NWC Coach of the Year on three occasions and garnered Unifour Coach of the Year honors four times. In 2013, Carter was named an assistant coach in the prestigious East/West All-Star Game, which is held each summer in conjunction with the North Carolina High School Coaches Clinic.
During his 15-year run on the Spartan sideline, Carter saw 26 of his players sign college scholarships. Just last week, South’s top prospect this season, Landon Dickerson, committed to play his collegiate football at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. In addition to Dickerson, South players Jensen "Butter" Weaver committed to Catawba College and Cameron Wright committed to Elon University.
"The Alexander Central Athletic Department is proud to celebrate the arrival of our next Head Football Coach, Butch Carter. Coach Carter arrives on the campus of ACHS with a resume of serious credentials but most of all he arrives with a "team" attitude. I am extremely impressed with the "we" attitude and approach that he builds with his staff and football family," Alexander Central Director of Athletics Joanna Crew said. "I do believe Coach Carter will work to build positive relationships with our players and continue to foster the pride and class that our teams exhibit as we compete. Butch Carter will join an already impressive Athletic Department at AC and support all athletics in Alexander County."