A long time Coach and Official in the Houston area, Mr. Carter certainly contributed to the history and legacy of Houston boxing by not only volunteering his boxing knowledge, but also as an advocate for our youth. Mr. Carter was a boxer during his time serving in The United States Army and also met his wife, in Germany, while serving our country. In a time in our country when Germany and Germans were demonized, Mr. Carter and his wife experienced prejudice when they came home to The United States. This fact may have contributed to Mr. Carter’s loathing for any sort of prejudice or racism, and he was known to treat all of the mostly Black and Latino boxers he coached like sons.
Mr. Carter was the Head Coach of The Salvation Army Boxing Club, in the city’s North-Side of town at Aldine-Westfield and Jensen. Mr. Carter coached many of the neighborhood youth and coached Kenneth “Iron Man” Walker, uncle of Reggie “Sweet” Johnson, when Kenneth brought a 12 year old Reggie to Mr. Carter for boxing instruction. Johnson’s mother initially did not want her son to box and Mr. Carter took the initiative to visit her at her home and convince her to let Reggie box, assuring her that he would protect Reggie as well as teach him to protect himself in boxing and in life. As we all now know, Reggie Johnson would go on to become a three-time World Champion, and has attributed much of his success to the lessons in boxing and life, that he learned from Mr. Carter. While conducting an interview with Reggie, he mentioned the many times Mr. Carter would invite his boxers to his home for meals, and how Mr. Carter was even more influential and respected by his boxers and the community because of the genuine and heartfelt way he treated them. The way in which Mr. Carter connected and communicated with his boxers, led them to become better persons in boxing and life and he was known to make the bouts and tournaments they participated in fun for his boxers.
From speaking to Reggie it became evident that Mr. Carter’s boxing instruction was also life instruction and Mr. Carter was more concerned with building and developing boys into men, than he was in developing and building boxers. A couple of quotes of Mr. Carter’s that stood out to me were: “Introduce me to your friends and I can predict your future” and “Just as I am here for you today, you must be there for someone else tomorrow”. Mr. Carter also lead by example, remaining humble and open minded, never criticizing other coaches, and even allowing other coaches to work alongside and with him in running the boxing program at The Salvation Army Boxing Club. One such instance in particular that stood out to Reggie was when Mr. Carter allowed long-time area Coach John Alvarado Sr. to join him in training the kids at the club, bringing his already established and accomplished boxer sons John Jr. and Steven with him. This act made the Salvation Army Boxing Club even more effective than it had been before, and John Alvarado Sr. also remained in Reggie’s life, serving as his head corner man when he won his second World Title.
After having to retire from coaching due to medical reasons, Mr. Carter still served the Gulf Association for many years as Registration Chairman. This was where I met Mr. Carter and I always enjoyed visiting him and hearing all of his stories of coaching boxing and the people he came into contact with during that time. Mr. Carter was welcoming and friendly, always making me feel better leaving his home, than I felt when I arrived there. Most of all I can clearly recall being at a smoker event at Savannah’s Boxing Gym when the news of his death was announced along with the moment of silence and ten count bell ringing. The tears in the eyes of Coaches, Boxers, and Officials, from every walk of life, race, creed, religion, and boxing club, told a story I can’t begin to give justice to with this article. This is the type of man, along with many others that I hope to bring recognition to, that have made Houston and Houston area boxing the powerhouse it is today.