Rock Carter, the longtime head coach of the Whittier College men’s basketball team, announced today that he will retire at the end of the current academic year. One of the winningest coaches in program history, Carter will step down immediately with the Poets, 22 of which he was the Head Coach.
Carter will retain his position as the Senior Associate Athletic Director where he assists in overseeing the internal operations of all 22 intercollegiate teams and staffing within the athletic department.
As part of the announcement, current Poets’ Assistant Coach Mark Jensen will be elevated to Interim Head Basketball Coach and will serve as the head coach throughout the 2017-18 season. Jensen will also remain in his position as Director of Intramurals and Recreation.
“This is just another step in continuing the growth and success of the Athletics Department,” Carter explained. “We have so many good things in place within the athletic department and I am excited that this piece has been added. Robs energy and vision for the success of athletics is genuine and it helps generate a sense of involvement. Over the last couple of years we have discussed strategies and responsibilities that will take more time and energy that I couldn’t give if I was coaching.”
Carter completed his 21st season at the helm of the men’s basketball program but has been with the team for 27 seasons. He has amassed a 274-259 record since he took over the program prior to the 1995-96 season. He has guided his teams to eleven winning seasons, which includes an 18-8, 10-4 SCIAC record in 2011-12 and in the last five years his teams have earned a spot in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Post Season Tournament four times.
Carter served as the Interim Athletics Director at Whittier from 2004-2005. He spent 13 years as an instructor in the KNS department, teaching courses in Sport Management, Methods of Elementary School Physical Education as well as Fitness and Wellness. Carter has also served on the NCAA Basketball Committee, was the West Region Tournament Representative from 2005-2008, was on the NCAA All-Star selection committee member from 2008-2010 and just concluded his fourth year as the SCIAC Men’s Basketball Committee Chair.
Since the 2001-02 campaign, Carter has placed 27 student athletes on the All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team, along with two players being named the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year for the 2012-13 (Chris Barnes- Williams) and 2014-15 (Andrew Torres) seasons. Carter has also had two Ted Ducey Award recipients which recognizes a senior that has exemplified leadership, discipline, determination and sportsmanship and also shown sincerity of purpose in his academic endeavors. The award is voted on by the SCIAC coaches.
“I love coaching and we have left the program in the hands of somebody who I think will be a very successful coach. I am proud of what we accomplished as a basketball program and will be supporting Mark and his staff for a long time.”
Originally from San Diego, Calif., Carter led Whittier to its first SCIAC Postseason Tournament in 2008-09 and a second place regular-season finish in the conference. The 16 wins were the second most wins in his tenure and most since the team won 17 games in the 2002-03 campaign. Whittier has participated in the tournament five times, in its eight years of existence, one of only four schools to do so.
A 1989 graduate of Whittier, Carter earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and was quickly hired as a full-time assistant to then Head Coach Dave Jacobs. He worked under Jacobs for four seasons before he was named interim head coach for the 1993-94 season. In 1994, Jacobs returned for one more season before Carter was named the fourth head coach in WC history since Aubrey R. Bonham started in 1937. Carter earned his M.A. in Education Administration.
Carter played two seasons for the Whittier College basketball program before he traded in his high tops for a whistle in 1988. He served as the Junior Varsity Head coach from 1989-1993 where he had a .681 winnings percentage and won three JV conference championships. In addition to his coaching on the hardwood, he also served as the head coach of the golf program from 1991-94 and served as the Sports Information Director from 1991-2003.
During the summer months Carter serves as the Director of the highly successful Whittier College Sports Camp and Swim Club which serves over 500 families in the Whittier and the surrounding communities. He is also been the Director of the Whittier College Basketball Camp for Whittier’s youth.
“I look forward to working with Rock on his transition to a full-time administrator,” explained Executive Director of Athletics Robert Coleman. “He has been an incredible role model to so many student-athletes over his career as our Head Men’s Basketball Coach and now as our Senior Associate Athletic Director he and I will work together on continuing to strengthen our athletic program.”
Rock currently resides in Whittier with his wife of 25 years Megan and their son, Jacob (23), a recent graduate of Whittier and now studying at UN Reno and daughter, Caroline (11).