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Carter finishes coaching career after 49 years

BIRMINGHAM — Lanett head coach Richard Carter has been around basketball a long time, 49 years to be exact. Carter has dominated the sideline for nearly a century, finishing his career with 716 wins, but he wasn’t able to win his last one, losing to Pickens County 57-55.

“I would really have to have wanted to have won it, but it just didn’t happen that way,” Carter said. “I thank these young men because they’ve made me proud. I want to thank the good Lord for allowing me to be around for nearly 50 years.”

Carter grew up in Chambers County, spending the majority of his free time in Lanett where his grandparents lived. After a short stint as a coach at Bullock County, Carter returned to his alma mater of Valley High School. He won 515 games as a head coach in Chambers County, winning 301 games at Valley and 214 games at Lanett.

After spending 24 years at Valley, Carter retired to Georgia, where he spent time with his ailing wife. While he was there he coached at Greenville High School. He retired from Greenville after never playing in a state championship.

That championship dream came true when he came to Lanett.

He led the Panthers to three-straight championship wins from 2016-18. Lanett is one of 10 teams to win three straight championships.

Senior guard Kristian Story was there for all three championships. The Storys and Carter have built a deep connection since Carter joined the Panthers coaching staff.

“I wanted it very badly because it’s my last game with him,” Story said. “I’ve been with him for five years, and I know what he’s done for the community and all the kids that have come through this program. He’s been a father figure to a lot of kids. For us to try and give him that gift back for his final game, and we came up short. It’s very heartbreaking.”

Carter finishes his career as a member of the Alabama High Shcool Hall of Fame with three state championship rings.

“It’s bittersweet, but I’m going to ride off into the sunset and hopefully go to Flordia to fish with my brother,” Carter said.