Ken “Coach” Carter – immortalized by Samuel L. Jackson in the movie Coach Carter – is the keynote speaker for the Omaha Home for Boys’ Imagine Our Youth fundraising gala.
The Imagine Our Youth gala is Thursday, September 15, at the Embassy Suites Omaha-LaVista. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour and silent auction, followed by dinner and speaker presentation.
“We’re very excited to have Coach Carter speak at our fundraiser this year,” said Omaha Home for Boys Director of Development Lori Bechtold. “His is an inspirational story about caring, perseverance and dedication to success. We know he’ll be a fantastic headliner who people will want to see, meet and hear.”
In addition, former Omaha Mayor and business leader Hal Daub and wife, Mary, are serving as Event Chairs.
Carter is a former coach, businessman and author who was honored as the 2001 San Francisco Bay Area Entrepreneur of the Year, NAACP Impact Citizen of the Year and the California Unsung Heroes Award winner. He also was the 2002 Torchbearer for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
While coaching at Richmond High (Richmond, Calif.) – his alma mater – in the 90s, Carter sent a powerful message when he locked his undefeated, state-play-off-bound basketball team out of the gym and forced them to hit the books and stop counting on athletic potential as the only ticket out of a tough, inner-city life. This is depicted in the 2005 film, Coach Carter, for which Samuel L. Jackson won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.
While the community was outraged at first, public opinion eventually changed, and Carter was praised for his determined emphasis toward prioritizing good values for his team.
His approach also bore results: for seven straight years, every one of his players graduated high school, with every one of them continuing on to attend college.