Coach Carter

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Coach Carter
Coach Carter poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThomas Carter
Written byMark Schwahn
John Gatins
Produced byDavid Gale
Brian Robbins
Michael Tollin
CinematographySharone Meir
Edited byPeter Berger
Music byTrevor Rabin
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • January 14, 2005 (2005-01-14)
Running time
136 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[1]
Box office$76.7 million[1]

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film starring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Thomas Carter (no relation). The film is based on the true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter (played by Jackson), who made headlines in 1999 for suspending 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. The ensemble cast features Rob Brown, Channing Tatum, Debbi Morgan, Robert Ri'chard and singer 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 Mark Ellis. On January 11, the film's soundtrack was released by Capitol Records. The film's score was composed and orchestrated by musician Trevor Rabin.

Coach Carter was released in the United States on January 14, 2005. The film received good reviews with a score of 64% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and opened number one at the box office with a Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend total of over 29 million dollars. The film went on to gross $76 million worldwide.


Ken Carter lives in Richmond, California. He becomes the coach for Richmond High School’s basketball team, the Richmond Oilers, having played for the team thirty years earlier. Initially, the team is rowdy, rude, and disrespectful. Carter gives the team contracts to sign and obey, requiring them to sit in the front rows of all their classes, and maintain a 2.3 (C+) grade point average. Carter asks the school's staff for progress reports of the players' grades and attendance. Despite anger from the players' parents, most players sign the contracts, though several team members walk out in disagreement, including Timo Cruz, a gifted player who also deals drugs for his cousin Renny. The school's principal, Principal Garrison, questions Carter's contracts, suggesting that the players will be unable to meet his conditions and that he would be better off sticking to coaching basketball.

Carter begins a strict, disciplinary training regime for the team, focused largely on conditioning and teamwork. Carter's son Damian joins the team, switching from the private school St. Francis, to play for his father. Cruz witnesses the team win a game, afterwards asking Carter to let him rejoin the team. Carter agrees, but only if Cruz completes a set number of exercises before that Friday. Cruz commits himself to this, though when it looks like he will fail, the rest of the team supports him and he is able to rejoin.

Kenyon Stone, the team's captain, struggles to come to terms with his girlfriend Kyra being pregnant. The couple have a falling out over Kenyon's inability to commit to fatherhood. Another player, Junior Battle, skips classes, leading Carter to suspend him from the team. Battle's mother Willa visits Carter, asking him to let Battle back on the team and explaining that things have been hard after her older son Antoine was killed. Carter agrees after Battle apologises.

The team continues to train and improve, bonding with Carter and becoming undefeated in the regular season. After winning the Bay Hill holiday tournament, the entire team sneaks out of the motel and attend a party at a nearby mansion while Carter is speaking to his wife on the phone. Carter discovers their absence, crashing the party to round up the team. Carter berates the boys on the way home, though Cruz points out the team are now winners as Carter intended. Later, Carter discovers that some players have not been keeping to their contracts, skipping classes and receiving poor grades.

A livid Carter locks the gym, directing the team to the library where they will study with their teachers until everyone's grades meet their contracts' terms. A disillusioned Cruz quits the team again. Carter enforces his lockdown, garnering media attention after he forfeits several games, and enraging the local community. Carter reasons that the boys have no other options in Richmond aside from crime or sports, and he is hoping their commitment to their studies will give them better options in life.

After a drug deal goes bad, Cruz watches Renny get gunned down in front of him. Distraught, Cruz goes to Carter, begging to be let back on the team. The school board holds a hearing, where Carter explains that sending his players to college and a better life is more important than basketball, and promises to resign if the lockdown is lifted. Though Principal Garrison and the board's chairwoman vote in his favor, every other councillor votes to end the lockdown. Carter prepares to leave, but discovers the team is refusing to play, choosing to continue with their studying and hold to their goal. Cruz, whom Carter had repeatedly asked "what is your deepest fear," answers by quoting from A Return to Love.

Carter decides to stay, and the team soon succeeds in their academic goal. Kenyon reunites with Kyra, learning she had an abortion. She said to him that she had a choice to make and she made it, for herself. They make up, and Kenyon asks Kyra to come with him to college, to which she agrees. The team play in the State Quarterfinals match against St. Francis, but lose by two points. Though they did not win, Carter expresses his pride that the team came together to persevere, give themselves options, and achieve the "ever elusive victory within." The film ends with the team celebrating with the community, and captions telling the fate of several key players who receive scholarships and go on to college.


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


Production started in mid-2004 and then ended later in 2004.

Filming locations for the motion picture included, Long Beach, California and Los Angeles.[7] Such locations in Long Beach included St. Anthony High School’s gymnasium.


The soundtrack for the film was released by Capitol Records on January 11, 2005. The score for the film was orchestrated by Trevor Rabin. An extensive list of songs are 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
1."All Night Long"3:33
2."No Need for Conversation"3:38
5."Roll Wit' You"3:23
6."Wouldn't You Like to Ride"3:51
8."Your Love (Is The Greatest Drug I've Ever Known)"3:34
9."This One"3:06
10."Beauty Queen"3:44
13."What Love Can Do"4:04
14."About Da Game"3:39
15."Let the Drummer Kick" 
Total length:53:23


Following its cinematic release in theaters, the Region 1 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 and Music Video "Hope" by Twista Featuring Faith Evans.[8] The film was also released on VHS.

A restored widescreen high-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.[9] An additional viewing option for the film in the media format of Video on demand has been made available as well.[10]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64% based on 150 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The site's critical 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."[11] 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".[12] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on a scale of A+ to F.[13]

Box office[edit]

Coach Carter was released in theaters on January 14, 2005 in the United States. 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).[14] The film's revenue dropped by 24% in its third week of release, earning $8 million. For that particular weekend, the film slipped to 5th place with a slightly higher theater count at 2,574.[15]

Coach Carter went on to top out domestically at $67.3 million through a 16-week theatrical run.[1] For 2005 as a whole, the film would cumulatively rank at a box office performance position of 36.[16]


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

Award Category Nominee Result
2005 BET Awards[17] Best Actor Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
2005 Black Movie Awards[18] 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[19] 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[20] Best Sports Movie ———— Nominated
2005 37th NAACP Image Awards[21][22] 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[23] Breakthrough Female Ashanti Nominated
2006 32nd People's Choice Awards[24] Favorite Movie Drama ———— Nominated
2005 Teen Choice Awards[25] 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 "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. ^ However, in the dialogue of the movie, the character played by Debbi Morgan referred to herself as the "girlfriend" of Ken Carter
  7. ^ "Coach Carter Production Details". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  8. ^ "Coach Carter DVD Widescreen". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  9. ^ "Coach Carter Blu-Ray". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  10. ^ "Coach Carter VOD Format". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  11. ^ Coach Carter (2005). Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  12. ^ Coach Carter. Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  13. ^ "Coach Carter". CinemaScore. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "January 14-16, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  15. ^ "January 28-30, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  16. ^ 2005 DOMESTIC GROSSES. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  17. ^ "BET Awards 2005". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  18. ^ "2005 Nominees and Winners". Black Movie Awards. Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  19. ^ "Black Reel Awards winners". Black Reel Awards. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  20. ^ "The 2005 Espy Awards Nominees". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  21. ^ "37th Image Awards Nominees". NAACP Image Awards. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  22. ^ "Jackson, Samuel L." Marquis Who's Who in America, edited by Marquis Who's Who, Marquis Who's Who LLC, 70th edition, 2016. Credo Reference.
  23. ^ "MTV Movie Awards 2005". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  24. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2006 Nominees". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  25. ^ "The 2005 Teen Choice Awards nominees". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
Further reading

External links[edit]