Carter resigns after successful six-year stint as coach


Qing Huang / The Advocate

Coach Alonzo Carter (center) points toward their conference banner in the stands after the Comets’ 51- 10 win over San Jose City College at Comet Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. The win clinched the team’s third consecutive conference championship.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

Following a successful six-year run as head coach of the Comet football team, Alonzo Carter has tendered his resignation and has assumed the role of running backs coach at San Jose State University.

In Carter’s tenure at Contra Costa College, which began in 2011, CCC amassed a 42-21 overall record with three bowl appearances in the last four years and four conference championships over the last five.

“I wasn’t looking for a job. (But) after I earned my (bachelor’s) degree it was in my gut and my heart to pursue any outside opportunities that came to me,” Carter said. “I’ve been offered jobs for the past 10 years but I wasn’t in an academic position to entertain any of them.”

Carter said once his degree from Cal State-East Bay was earned in 2016, the decision rested more on the right person approaching him with an offer.

Shortly after his early December hiring, SJSU football coach Brent Brennan (a longtime friend of Carter) presented the former Comet coach with an offer that he could not let pass.

Carter resurrected CCC’s football program, which makes walking away with such short notice a sensitive situation.

“I handled it with gloves,” Carter said. “I spoke to Mr. Wade (Athletic Director John Wade) and he was very thoughtful of me and my family. He was very gracious and I appreciate the opportunity he gave me.”

Wade was shocked when he heard the news of Carter’s impending resignation, but offered well wishes to the coach on his next opportunity.

“I think it’s great for coach (Carter) and his family. It’s a good opportunity and I am extremely happy for him,” Wade said. “We have some good kids that will hopefully return so we will continue to be able to compete.”

Wade said the search for a new coach is just getting underway and as of now there is no clear front-runner for the position.

“We have to see who we get in here (to interview),” Wade said. “We would like to hire a new coach as soon as we can get one, but it doesn’t always happen like that.”

As for Comet football, Carter said he has a great group of assistant coaches who have been very supportive on the field and who ultimately want the successes the program has enjoyed to continue.

“The coaching staff is taking it extremely well. Some of us have worked with Carter since 2010 when he started,” associate head coach Patrick Henderson said. “We’re happy for him to get to experience this opportunity, but it’s business as usual around here.”

Henderson also spoke to what it was like to work with Carter while transforming a struggling program into a success story.

Over the past two seasons                                    alone, the Comet football program, under Carter, has transferred 34 players to four-year colleges.

“He taught us and showed us the way — that’s never going to leave us,” Henderson said. “We’re all Carter guys in that office. I’ve played for him and coached with him. Myself and some of the other coaches who are here, we embody what he brings to the table. I‘ll be exited to see what he does as a coach on that level.”

The move to hire Carter as running backs coach at SJSU came as a shock to some because Carter is primarily known as a defensive-minded coach.

Aside from defense, the coach’s most marketable talents are his close Bay Area ties, especially the East Bay, and his ability to recruit top offensive talent.

CCC freshman Jordan Greenley said, “I was supposed to go to a four-year college when Carter called me and convinced me to come here. He gave me a chance to play the game that I love and be all that I can be.”

Carter’s past two quarterbacks, who both earned all-conference honors, were close to signing with SJSU before committing to CCC.

Those quarterbacks played the Comets into consecutive bowl appearances in 2014 and 2015.

“My East Bay ties and all of the relationships that I have built with coaches over the years was very relevant in the hiring. Me being able to go out and recruit the top skill players in the Bay Area and Northern California is also very relevant,” Carter said.

“Coach Brennan put his faith in me that I would be successful in whatever position they put me in. It feels good to go out and work for someone who allows you to be you.”

Although Carter has made his name as a head coach, the East Bay native says he knows how to fit in and become a part of a program instead of running one.

“I know how to be a good Indian. I don’t always have to be the chief. Working around young people keeps my energy young and it’s the same atmosphere here at SJS,” Carter said.