By David Fong
TROY — Shane Carter has never backed down from a challenge — athletic or otherwise — in his life.
He’s not about to start now.
Late last week, Carter — a 2005 Troy High School graduate and current executive director at the Lincoln Community Center in Troy — was named head football coach at Springfield Northwestern High School. He inherits a team that went 1-9 last season and has gone a combined 30-70 the last decade.
“I’m not used to losing and they aren’t used to winning — so something has got to give,” Carter said of taking over a program that has had just two winning seasons (6-4 in both 2013 and 2015) the past 10 years. “I’m looking forward to this challenge. The kids need a good leader. That’s what I hope I can be for this program.”
Carter was a standout in football and basketball during his playing days at Troy, earning all-conference and all-district honors in both sports. He was a receiver and defensive back on the football field and is one of only four boys basketball players in Troy history to score more than 1,000 points in his career.
Following his playing days at Troy, he went on to become the starting safety at the University of Wisconsin. After graduating from college, Carter would return to Troy and take control of the Lincoln Community Center.
“I always wanted to be a part of a coaching staff — but after I graduated, I wanted to come back to Troy and make sure (younger brothers) Alex and Lance got through college,” Carter said. “But my heart was always in sports. That’s what I wanted to do.”
Carter spent his first few years back in Troy making major improvements to both the programs and facilities at the LCC. Last year, he got back into coaching, taking over as the Troy freshman football team’s coach. Last fall, he felt the desire to return to coaching on a larger scale come flooding back to him.
“I’m 30 years old; I felt like I needed to test the waters now,” Carter said. “When the opportunity at Northwestern came up, it seemed like a good fit for me. They’ve got some good football players over there. They’ve got some big kids there. I think I just need to put my staff together and get things rolling.
“I definitely want to thank (Troy varsity coach) Matt Burgbacher for giving me the opportunity to coach last year. I think being on the sidelines last year re-instilled how important high school football was to me. I think I always knew I would return to coaching at some point, but I know God would open a door this quickly? Absolutely not. But I’ll always be a Trojan.”
Burgbacher said he’s sorry to see Carter go, but is happy to see him have the opportunity to be a head coach.
“Congratulations to Shane and his family,” Burgbacher said. “What a great opportunity for Coach Carter and Northwestern High School. Shane is one of the first guys I met when I got the Troy job and I knew right away he was a special young man. The work he does with student-athletes on a daily basis is amazing. We hate to lose him from our coaching staff, but we are excited and proud for him.”
Carter said taking on a head coaching position will not change his status at the Lincoln Community Center, where he plans to remain while coaching.
“Absolutely … I’ll still be working at the Center 40-hours plus every week,” he said. “There’s still so much I want to accomplish there. Working at the Center is a 365-day a year job. I’m not going to leave these kids. I’ll still be there every day at 6 a.m. There may be some times during the fall where I’ll obviously have to leave, but I fully entrust my staff to handle things when I’m not there. Nicole Burton does a phenomenal job running the Center when I’m not there.”
If Carter needed any reassurance in taking the Northwestern job, however, he got it from his former high school football coach, Steve Nolan.
“When I first got this opportunity, the first person I called was Coach Nolan,” Carter said. “He told me, as a mentor, that I should go for it. That really reassured me. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity in front of me.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twtter @thefong