Melvin Carter is a name that goes down as one of the greatest sports names in Kingsway history. A three sport athlete who excelled in football, basketball, and track in the 1980’s, he later went on to an esteemed career as a football, basketball, and track coach.
In honor of his performance, his coaching exploits, and the inspiration he has provided to his school, he recently was voted into the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame.
While a student at Kingsway, he was a record setting athlete. In football, he led the Dragons to their first playoff appearance in school history as a star wide receiver.
He also was a key contributor to Kingsway’s success in basketball. According to his former football coach, Tony Barchuk, Carter’s effort was crucial to any success his teams had.
“Melvin simply was the best!” said Barchuk. “Whatever was needed for the team to succeed, he did it. He is one of the best athletes to ever walk these halls.
In track, he led Kingsway to its first South Jersey track championship in over 20 years as well as its first Woodbury Relays and Bridgeton Relays titles. His teams won three consecutive Gloucester County championships as well.
He was a South Jersey Group 2 champion in the 400 hurdles and set long-standing school records in the hurdles, high jump, and relays, some which still stand today over a quarter century later. As an athlete, he was one of the main stewards of Kingsway’s first “golden age” of track where many of its championships were won. Culminating his senior year, he was voted as “most athletic” by his peers.
After he graduated from Kingsway in 1988, he moved on to Cheyney University where he played football. During his third year at Cheyney, tragedy struck. He was in a car accident that resulted in the death of one of his dear friends. Devastatingly, he also lost his lower right leg. One not to wallow in pity, he took this moment as an opportunity to help others, even when he was most in need.
“Man, I was really down, but I wasn’t out,” said Carter. “I had to show my friends, my town, my family, and myself that this one incident wasn’t going to define me. I had more to do than simply be an athlete, and I set out to show that.”
Carter decided to return to Kingsway to make a difference in the lives of his town’s most treasured commodity- its young people. He immediately was hired as a member of the school staff, focusing primarily on children with discipline issues. He also was hired to assist his former coaches Tony Barchuk with the football team and Tom Bergin with the boys’ spring track teams. He even began coaching basketball.
In 1998, he took over the boys’ spring track head coaching duties from Coach Bergin. He has been able to carry on the fine tradition set by Coach Bergin and Coach Rich O’Neill. His teams have won numerous county and conference titles. Next spring, the boys track team will be going for their third consecutive South Jersey, Woodbury Relays, and Bridgeton Relays championships. They also will be one of the favorites to win the State Group 4 championship next spring.
Upon hearing that he was being inducted into the county hall of fame, Carter humbly deflected attention to other people, giving credit to his family, coaches, colleagues, and his student-athletes.
“So many people have given me so much,” said Carter. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of a lot of people, and I want to walk in the footsteps of those people. I am a Kingsway man at heart and want to keep making this place the best. It’s already there, and I’m just helping to keep it going.”
Little does Carter realize how many people, young and old, follow his lead. After all, “hall of famers” tend to cast very large footsteps.