Much to his surprise and chagrin, long-time Jennings High boys basketball coach Randy Carter had to use a portion of the time he had to speak at the school's year-end basketball awards ceremony last Wednesday to drum up support to save his job.
Carter, 56, found out the day before that he would have to reapply for the position he's held for 24 years. Needless to say, he was shocked, especially because he said he had been told he could continue coaching at Jennings after he retired from teaching at the end of the last school year.
"This is just something that shouldn't be taking place," said Carter. "I don't understand the reasoning."
Carter's record at Jennings doesn't provide any clues as to why he's being asked to do this, either. His teams have been consistently excellent during his time there. The Warriors have a record of 426-230 in his 24 years, have won eight Suburban East Conference titles, 10 district crowns, they've advanced to the quarterfinals nine times and gone to the final four on four occasions.
But Carter's success at Jennings cannot be measured by wins and losses alone. He has poured a lot of his own money into the program and helped a number of his former players with financial issues.
"I love the Jennings kids and I've busted my (behnd) for the program for 24 years," said Carter. "Like Tom Izzo at Michigan State, I'd like to be a lifer at Jennings High School."
At the ceremony Wednesday, Jennings retired the numbers of former first-team all-staters Darren Brooks, who was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and Nick Benson, who shined at Moberly Area Community College and then the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
Hazelwood West High grad Mike Blakely has decided to attend Milliken University and play football for Coach Doug Neibuhr. Blakely will study pre-engineering at the school.
"We are very excited that Mike has decided to attend Milliken University," said Neibuhr. "He is a very good athlete and we expect him to be a significant contributor to our program. We look forward to having him with us."
Blakely earned two varsity letters in football at Hazelwood West where he played wide receiver and cornerback. Blakely earned all-Suburban North Conference honors his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, he had 42 tackles, three interceptions, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown. As a junior, he had 44 total tackles, three interceptions and 200 receiving yards.
The Millikin football program is steeped in tradition, winning 11 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) titles. In 2009, the Big Blue had seven players earn all-CCIW honors after completing a 6-4 season.
The Catholic Youth Council is having its annual CYC Night at the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Game July 21. Ticket prices are $12 for a regularly priced $17 ticket and $15 for a regularly priced $26 ticket.
Call Buzz at 314-792-7601 (ext. 13) or 314-353-8911 to order tickets.
All teams can participate in a parade around Busch Stadium prior to the 7:15 game with the Philadelphia Phillies. Fredbird will lead the parade. Two parish teams will have a player from their team participate in throwing a first pitch to a Cardinal player.