Coach travels back to Miami

What do most people say when they meet the University of Miami’s first black All-American in football? They usually start with “Hi, Coach Carter. How are you today?”

Florida A&M University’s Head Football Coach Rubin Carter achieved this and more as a defensive tackle at the University of Miami.

“My time there was very special,” said Carter of his experience at Miami. “I have a lot of good memories at the Orange Bowl.”Carter will return to the Orange Bowl under different circumstances this week as his Rattlers prepare to take on the storied Hurricanes. But the competition won’t make Carter’s homecoming any less special.

“It is going to be exciting and electrifying. With all the family members and friends there, it should be fun,” Carter said.While Carter enjoyed a hefty amount of success at Miami, his professional career was just as fruitful. Carter was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated that touted him as “The Prototype NT (Nose Tackle) in the 3-4 Defense.”

Carter was a cog in the defensive units that led the Broncos to five AFC West division championships and two Super Bowl appearances.

“One of the greatest events that I have been a part of was beating the Oakland Raiders to advance to the Super Bowl,” Carter said.

While Carter’s Broncos were never able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, he valued the chance to play on the biggest Sunday of the year.

“To play a game and know everyone in the world is watching you is an amazing feeling. There is nothing like it,” Carter said. After retirement, Carter did not head to an island resort for leisurely golf and hammock lounging. Instead, he kept his name in the game as the Denver Broncos defensive line coach. In his first tenure patrolling the sidelines, Carter worked with famed NFL coach Dan Reeves, which was his first chance of many to study under greatness.

“I think one of the things that helped me get to where I am today is my mentors,” Carter said. “Working under guys like Dan Reeves and Norv Turner really helped me along the way.”In 1989, Carter headed to the nation’s capital to take the reigns of the Howard University Bison defense. Carter managed to mold the Bison’s defense into the best in Division I-AA in his first year at the helm.

“I used to love watching him at practice,” said Howard University Sports Information Director Ed Hill.

“You could tell that he just enjoyed teaching. His energy level was just unbelievable,” Hill said.”I learned a lot from him. A lot of what I do with the defense stems from him.” said current Howard Head Coach Rayford T. Petty, who worked under Carter as the Howard defensive line coach in 1993.

“He has experience on the highest level you can go. From a technical standpoint it is like he was bound to be a great coach,” Petty said.

Stints with San Jose State, the University of Maryland, Temple University, the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins give Carter an impressive resume.

“With his experience, players can’t help but respect him because he has been there,” said former Temple University and current University of West Alabama Head Coach Bobby Wallace.And here Coach Carter is again, heading back to where it all began. He returns to the Orange Bowl wearing the same colors, but with a different name on the front of his hat.

“I like to be able to compete against my alma mater. But we are going here strictly to take care of business,” Carter said.