BATESVILLE, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – A former All-American, a 19-year wrestling coach and mentor of 11 state champions, along with 26 high school and college All-Americans, Kevin Carter has been named the first men and women's wrestling coach at Lyon College, according to Lyon Director of Athletics Kevin Jenkins.
Lyon President Dr. Donald Weatherman announced in June that the NAIA institution would become the fifth college in Arkansas to begin a men's wrestling program and first to put a women's team on the mat, adding that the Scots would compete at the intercollegiate level beginning in the 2014-15 academic year.
Jenkins said the goal is to have at least 20 male wrestlers and 15-20 females by the College's first season, which will begin in November. He stated that, after a long searce, Carter is the right man for the job.
"I think with his background of coaching in the sport, Kevin is a great fit for what we're starting here," Jenkins explained. "He not only has a tremendous knowledge of the sport, but I believe he has a great understanding of the kind of student-athlete we're trying to attract here.
"A former NAIA athlete himself and coming from the Dallas area, there is no doubt that the Dallas Metroplex will be a great starting point as far as recruiting and building the program. We're excited about what's ahead with these two new Lyon College athletic programs."
At age 38, Carter has 19 years of coaching experience, with 15 of those coming as a head coach. He has an overall dual record of 279-85, winning 84% of those matches.
"I'm so excited to be a part of the first wrestling programs here at Lyon," Carter said on his first day on the job Monday. "What I want to do is find kids that are compatible with the mission of Lyon College academically, which is to gain a small school liberal arts education, while being a part of a brand new athletic wrestling programs."
Lyon College joins Ouachita Baptist University (NCAA D2 – 2009), Central Baptist College (NAIA – 2010), Arkansas Baptist College (NJCAA – 2011) and Williams Baptist College (NAIA – 2014) as the fifth institution of higher learning to add the men's sport. Lyon will also be the first college in Arkansas to offer women's wrestling.
There is currently two other colleges in the American Midwest Conference – Missouri Baptist University (men/women) and Hannibal-LaGrange University (men) – which offer wrestling. Lindenwood University-Belleville, which will join the conference in 2014-15, also offers wrestling to both men and women.
There are 43 colleges in the U.S., which sponsor the sport.
A successful head coach, Carter comes to Lyon from Wakeland High School in Frisco, Tex., where he led the Wolverines' boys squad to a seventh-place finish at the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Texas State Championships, along with the District 16-4A title, in 2013.
The Wolverines also finished in the Top 15 in Class 4A, Region II in the 2012 championships and placed second in District 16 in 2011.
On the girls' side, Carter coached over 15 girl state qualifiers and placed three at the Texas UIL State Championships. He also sent one of his athletes (Kara Stratton) to the Olympic Training Center Athlete Program. He has coached girls' wrestling for the past six years.
Because of his association with successful programs in Texas and on the west coast, Carter will designate those areas as a starting place for recruiting.
"Girls wrestling is a hotbed in Texas," he explained. "It's the largest state in the union in terms of the number of women's wrestlers. Because we're so close to Texas and me coming from Texas, we'll try to pull kids from there, as well as other states that border Arkansas.
"I also have associations on the west coast and I'll be looking to recruit from that area as well. And, of course, I'll be looking for wrestlers from right here in Arkansas."
During his career, Carter has coached 11 state champions, two USA National Cadet champions, one University USA National Champion, four collegiate National Champions, eight California JUCO State Finalists, 24 high school athletes who placed at state competitions and more than two dozen high school and collegiate All-Americans.
A graduate of Southern Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts in History (1997), Carter received his Masters Degree in Educational Administration at the University of Nevada-Reno in 2003.
Carter was a Nevada State Champion wrestling in high school and a four-year starter at Sierra College and Southern Oregon University (NAIA). He earned All-American honors at SOU.
He was a head assistant coach in 1998 under Hall of Fame coach Tom Bailey at Wooster High School in Reno, Nevada. The team finished that season ranked 17th nationally by Amateur Wrestling News Magazine.