Coach Carter

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Coach Carter
Coach Carter poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Thomas Carter
Produced by David Gale
Brian Robbins
Michael Tollin
Written by Mark Schwahn
John Gatins
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Rob Brown
Channing Tatum
Rick Gonzalez
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography Sharone Meir
Edited by Peter Berger
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates January 14, 2005 (2005-01-14)
Running time 134 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30,000,000 [1]
Box office $76,669,806[1]

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical drama film directed by Thomas Carter. It is based on a true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, who made headlines in 1999 for benching his undefeated high school basketball team due to poor academic results.[2][3][4] The story was conceived from a screenplay co-written by John Gatins and Mark Schwahn, who created the TV series One Tree Hill. The film also recycles a handful of plot devices from another television series, The White Shadow, which director Carter also co-starred in. The ensemble cast features Rob Brown, Channing Tatum, Debbi Morgan, and musical entertainer Ashanti.

The film was a co-production between the motion picture studios of MTV Films and Tollin/Robbins Productions. Theatrically and for the home video rental market, it was commercially distributed by Paramount Pictures. Coach Carter explores professional ethics, academics and athletics.[5] The sports action in the film was coordinated by the production company ReelSports. On January 11, 2005, the original motion picture soundtrack was released by the Capitol Records music label. The film score was composed and orchestrated by musician Trevor Rabin.

Coach Carter premiered in theaters nationwide in the United States on January 14, 2005 grossing $67,264,877 in domestic ticket receipts. The film took in an additional $9,404,929 in business through international release for a combined worldwide total of $76,669,806. Preceding its initial screening in cinemas, the film was generally met with positive critical reviews. With its initial foray into the home video marketplace; the widescreen DVD edition of the film featuring deleted scenes, a music video, and special features among other highlights, was released in the United States on June 21, 2005.


Coach Ken Carter (Jackson) takes over the head coaching job for the Swan Hill "Under 18's" team at his old high school Richmond, having played on the team himself and earning unbeaten records. Carter quickly learns that the athletes are rude and disrespectful, and are in need of discipline. He hands the players individual contracts, instructing them to attend all of their classes, wear dress shirts and ties on game days, refer to everyone (players and coach alike) as "sir", and maintain a minimum 2.3 (C+) grade point average, among other requirements. Carter also asks the school staff for progress reports on the players' grades and attendance. He teaches them to play a disciplined brand of basketball which includes an emphasis on fundamentals, execution, defense, and conditioning.

In the gym, one player, Worm, starts to insult Carter, but Carter insults him right back. When Timo Cruz acts disrespectful towards Carter, Carter orders him to leave the gym. Cruz attempts to punch Carter but fails as Carter grabs his arm and pushes him to the wall. Cruz responds that a teacher shouldn't touch a student, but Carter responds that he is not a teacher, but the new basketball coach. Cruz quits the team along with two other players. Teammate Kenyon Stone (Rob Brown) is shocked and responds that those two players were the best ones on the team last season. Carter tells him that they will get new best players this season. Carter warns them that, if they are late for practice, then they will run laps, and, if they act disrespectful to him, then they will do push-ups. He then orders them to do sprints for one hour. Later, Carter's son, Damien (Robert Andrew Richard), decides to join the team, after quitting the private school St. Francis, to play for his father. Much to his father's shock. Carter asks why he did this, and Damien tells him that he wants to play for his father. Carter agrees.

Kenyon struggles to come to terms with his girlfriend, Kyra (Ashanti), being pregnant, unsure if he can juggle basketball and prepare for college as well. Later, Cruz scares his former basketball teammate Lyle with a gun. Later at a game, Cruz watches them perform to an inspiring victory. Cruz feels uneasy about the win, then he goes to the gym and asks Carter if he can get back on the team and what he has to do for it to happen. Carter responds that he does not want him back, and responds that he does not want to known the answer but after seeing that he is desperate, Carter agrees but on one condition; he says that he needs to do 2,500 push-ups and 1,000 suicides before Friday, then he can get back on the team.

At the prom, Stone talks to his girlfriend about the baby and says he does not want to live this way. He asks her what she going to do after the Baby is born and believes that she would not know what to do. She angrily responds that he does not care about her and says that he only cares about basketball and college and to forget about her. She tells him that she is having the baby. Stone then asks her what will she do after that and leaves.

During practice Carter tells Cruz to give up, because it is impossible to complete all of the push ups and suicides by Friday. The team, however, does push-ups and suicides with Cruz, and this helps inspire him to finish them to get back on the team. On a game day, Carter asks Cruz what his biggest fear is, and Cruz was confused with what he was asking. Later, the team won the game.

Carter checks up on the teachers of the students that are on his team, and learns that one particular student does not attend classes; Junior Battle. The teacher responds that he rarely comes to class. Later in practice, Carter confronts Battle, who does not seem be to worried about it. Carter tells him that he will not play on the team with his low grades, and suspends him. Battle, shocked and angry, becomes rude to Carter, then Carter tells him he has to do one thousand push ups, and then warns him that he will do a thousand more if he continues acting disrespectful. Battle then leaves the team in anger.

Battle's mother comes to talk to Carter, and agrees that her son needs to attend his class and says that she just wants him to play on Carter's team. Carter says that he needs to hear that from Battle, himself. Battle apologizes for what he did and says that he will start attending his classes. Carter is pleased to hear it and says that he owes him a lot of push-ups and suicides. Battle smiles in agreement and leaves.

The team goes on to have an undefeated record, eventually winning a seasonal basketball tournament. However, Carter later discovers that the progress reports, that are filled out by the faculty, reveal that some of the students have been skipping classes and failing academically. Carter learns that his team is partying and it angers him when he learns that they were invited by a girl name Suzan. Carter went to her house to find his team when Suzan's parents saw Carter and ask him what he is doing front their house Carter tell them that he is goes looking for his team, and then the taxi driver that took the team tells Carter where he did, and then takes him there as well. After making it to the party, he found Damien and ordered him to come out of the pool, as well as Worm, drunk and having sex with Suzan. Carter then orders his team to leave. Later, Carter starts to criticize his team about this, while they feel that Carter only wanted them to win games, which disappoints Carter.

Back at school, Carter had initiated a lockdown on the gym, banning the entire team from playing until they improve their grades. He sends his players to the Library to study with their teachers. This upsets the players, especially Cruz, who quits the team again, stating that he had tried so hard to do all those push-ups and suicides for Carter, to get back on the team in the first place.

Carter is criticized by parents and academic personnel alike for his decision to lock down the gym. The school board eventually confronts Carter, who justifies his actions, explaining how he wants to give his team the opportunity and option for further education so that they won't resort to crime, asserting that achieving a sound education is more important for the students than winning basketball games, and then asks what will happen if they fail. Carter responded that they will fail. Carter reveals the contract he gave to the team in the news while someone from outside broke his store window for not letting the team play. The next day, someone taunts him about his decision to lock down the gym. Carter became enraged, but Damien calms him down by saying that he should just let it go.

Later that evening, while Cruz is hanging out with his drug dealer cousin Renny, Cruz notices his three teammates being harassed by some gangsters. Cruz saves them, but when a drug deal goes wrong, his cousin is shot, leaving Cruz distraught. Cruz, filled with grief and covered in his cousin's blood, goes to the Carter residence and begs to be allowed back on the team, crying and promising how he will do anything to get back on the team. Carter comforts him and allows that.

The board holds an assembly about the lockout. Carter states that some of his teammates from high school were arrested or killed, and he wanted to prevent his players from resorting to crime. A man suggested that Carter should be removed from the basketball coach position, but the school responded that they cannot just remove someone from their position, which then leads him to suggest that they should end the lockout. Principal Garrison (Dowse) and the chairman vote to not end the lockout, but the other board members vote in favor of ending it, much to the parents and teachers' delight, but to Carter's dismay.

While he is gathering his things to leave, Principal Garrison approaches Carter, saying that he did a great job with the team. However, Carter felt that everything he did was for nothing. Just when Carter is about to quit in disgust (after promising to do so if they voted to end the lockout), he is shocked to find his players in the gym with desks and teachers, studying and working to bring their grades back up. The athletes decide to fulfill Carter's original intention of them pursuing academic achievement before continuing to play their next game, with Lyle explaining that the school board can force an end to the lockout, but the players can't be forced to play. Cruz answers Carter's question about fear and thanks him for saving his life. They work hard while studying, study after school during practice time, and eventually raise their grade point average to a point that fulfills their end of the contracts they signed.

Later, Stone visited Kyra and talked to her about the baby. She revealed that she had an abortion. Kyra said that she thought long and hard about the decision, saying to Kenyon that he should go play basketball in college. Kenyon then asks her to come and watch his games, which she agrees with.

The day of their game, the Oilers eventually end up competing in the regional high school playoffs, but ultimately lose to St. Francis. Nonetheless, Carter is proud that the players accomplished their goal of attaining a proper education with athletics. The film's epilogue displays a series of graphics stating that a number of players went on to attend college furthering their study-Kenyon, Lyle, Junior, Worm, Cruz, and Damien.


Actor Samuel L. Jackson who portrayed real-life basketball coach Ken Carter.


Filming locations for the motion picture included, Long Beach, California and Los Angeles.[6]


The original motion picture soundtrack for Coach Carter was released by the Capitol Records label on January 11, 2005. The score for the film was orchestrated by Trevor Rabin. An extensive list of songs is featured on the soundtrack, which differs from the soundtrack recording. The recording includes five songs which were not featured in the film: "About da Game" by Trey Songz; "Balla" by Mack 10 featuring Da Hood; "Beauty Queen" by CzarNok; "What Love Can Do" by Letoya; and "Wouldn't You Like to Ride", by Kanye West, Malik Yusef, and Common.

Coach Carter: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released January 11, 2005
Genre Soundtrack
Length 53:23
Label Capitol
Producer Andrew Shack
Darius Jones
Coach Carter: Music from the Motion Picture
No. Title Length
1. "All Night Long"   3:33
2. "No Need for Conversation"   3:38
3. "Professional"   3:36
4. "Southside"   4:13
5. "Roll Wit' You"   3:23
6. "Wouldn't You Like to Ride"   3:51
7. "Hope"   4:12
8. "Your Love (Is The Greatest Drug I've Ever Known)"   3:34
9. "This One"   3:06
10. "Beauty Queen"   3:44
11. "Balla"   4:07
12. "Time"   4:52
13. "What Love Can Do"   4:04
14. "About Da Game"   3:39
Total length:


Following its cinematic release in theaters, the Region 1 Code widescreen edition of the film was released on DVD in the United States on June 21, 2005. Special features for the DVD include; two commentaries: Coach Carter: The Man Behind the Movie, Fast Break at Richmond High, Deleted Scenes, Music Video: "Hope" by Twista Featuring Faith Evans, Previews and Scene Selection.[7]

A restored widescreen hi-definition Blu-ray Disc version of the film was released on December 16, 2008. Special features include; two commentaries - The Man Behind the Movie; Fast Break at Richmond High; 6 Deleted scenes; "Hope" music video by Twista featuring Faith Evans; Writing Coach Carter: The Two Man Game; Coach Carter: Making the Cut; and the theatrical trailer in HD.[8] An additional viewing option for the film in the media format of Video on demand has been made available as well.[9]


Coach Carter received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 65%, based on 145 reviews, with an average score of 6.1 out of 10. The site's consensus reads: "Even though it's based on a true story, Coach Carter is pretty formulaic stuff, but it's effective and energetic, thanks to a strong central performance from Samuel L. Jackson."[10] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11]

Box office[edit]

Coach Carter premiered in cinemas on January 14, 2005 in wide release throughout the United States.[1] During that weekend, the film opened in 1st place grossing $24.2 million from 2,524 locations, beating out Meet the Fockers ($19.3 million).[12] The film's revenue dropped by 24% in its second week of release, earning $8,015,331. For that particular weekend, the film slipped to 5th place with a slightly higher theater count at 2,574. The thriller film Hide and Seek opened in 1st place with $21,959,233 in box office business.[13] During its final week in release, Coach Carter opened in 61st place grossing a marginal $26,554 in revenue. For that weekend period, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy starring Martin Freeman opened in 1st place with $21,103,203 in box office receipts.[14] Coach Carter went on to top out domestically at $67,264,877 in total ticket sales through an initial 16-week theatrical run.[1] For 2005 as a whole, the film would cumulatively rank at a box office performance position of 36.[15]


The film was nominated and won several awards in 2005–06.

Award Category Nominee Result
2005 BET Awards[16] Best Actor Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
2005 Black Movie Awards[17] Outstanding Achievement in Directing Thomas Carter Won
Outstanding Motion Picture David Gale, Brian Robbins, Michael Tollin Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
Black Reel Awards of 2006[18] Best Director Thomas Carter Won
Best Actor Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Ashanti Nominated
Best Film David Gale, Brian Robbins, Michael Tollin Nominated
ESPY Awards 2005[19] Best Sports Movie ———— Nominated
2005 37th NAACP Image Awards[20] Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Samuel L. Jackson Won
Outstanding Directing in a Feature Film/Television Movie Thomas Carter Nominated
Outstanding Motion Picture ———— Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Ashanti Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Awards[21] Breakthrough Female Ashanti Nominated
2006 38th People's Choice Awards[22] Favorite Movie Drama ———— Nominated
2005 Teen Choice Awards[23] Choice Movie Actor: Drama Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
Choice Movie Breakout Performance - Female Ashanti Nominated
Choice Movie: Drama ———— Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Coach Carter (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  2. ^ Turner, Miki (January 19, 2005). "The real Coach Carter is a class act". Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Coach scores points for academics". San Francisco Chronicle ( January 8, 1999. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ McManis, Sam (January 12, 1999). "Richmond Rebound". San Francisco Chronicle ( Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ Thomas Carter. (2005). Coach Carter [Motion picture] Production Notes. United States: Paramount Pictures.
  6. ^ "Coach Carter Production Details". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  7. ^ "Coach Carter DVD Widescreen". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  8. ^ "Coach Carter Blu-Ray". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  9. ^ "Coach Carter VOD Format". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  10. ^ Coach Carter (2005). Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  11. ^ Coach Carter. Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  12. ^ "January 14-16, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  13. ^ "January 28-30, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  14. ^ "April 29-May 1, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  15. ^ 2005 DOMESTIC GROSSES. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  16. ^ "BET Awards 2005". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  17. ^ "2005 Nominees and Winners". Black Movie Awards. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  18. ^ "Black Reel Awards winners". Black Reel Awards. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  19. ^ "The 2005 Espy Awards Nominees". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  20. ^ "37th Image Awards Nominees". NAACP Image Awards. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  21. ^ "MTV Movie Awards 2005". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  22. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2006 Nominees". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  23. ^ "The 2005 Teen Choice Awards nominees". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
Further reading
  • Carter, Ken (2012). Yes Ma'am, No Sir: The 12 Essential Steps for Success in Life. Business Plus. ISBN 978-1-455-50234-9. 
  • Niemiec, Ryan (2008). Positive Psychology At The Movies: Using Films to Build Virtues and Character Strengths. Hogrefe Publishing. ISBN 978-0-889-37352-5. 
  • Johnson, Rick (2009). The Power of a Man: Using Your Influence as a Man of Character. Revell. ISBN 978-0-800-73249-3. 

External links[edit]