Tribute to Warren Carter
As the new millennium approaches, the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission is in the process of a change in leadership. Warren Carter, the Commission’s Executive Secretary since 1992, is retiring at the end of this month. It is only appropriate that I share with my readers all that he has accomplished for the mat sport during his tenure.
I was appointed to the position of state wrestling clinician and interpreter in 1989. It was then that I met and became a friend and admirer of Warren Carter, a man of intregity and character.
Though he knew very little about wrestling, Mr. Carter vowed not only to learn about wrestling, but also to assist in improving the sport in the Mountain State. He was true to his word.
To begin with, each year 12 officials are selected to referee the state championships, but only eight officiated matches during Saturday’s sessions in the 1980s. The remaining eight referees were showing signs of fatigue due to the long Saturday afternoon session.
After discussing the problem with Warren, it was decided that all 12 referees would officiate the entire tournament. Thus, fresh officials oversaw the wrestlers during the all-important championship finals.
In 1991, we felt a need to improve officiating consistency around the state. I asked Warren if we could produce a video highlighting 13 difficult calls, and how they should be handled by our officials. Mr. Carter endorsed the venture and the BAKER’S DOZEN OF DIFFICULT CALLS IN WRESTLING video was distributed to all local boards.
With the permission of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), Warren Carter authorized a statewide pilot study in 1993, allowing only five minutes for bleeding. After conversing with officials and observing matches which involved bleeding that seemed to last far too long, he saw a need for a “blood-time limit. His thoughts were right on target because the WV pilot study became a NFHS rule in 1996.
During the 1998-99 season, Warren’s final contribution dealt with the very controversial area of “stalling. Again, with the blessing of the NFHS, he allowed us to venture into an untested territory in wrestling, where “choice of position rather than point(s) are awarded for stalling.
We are in our second and final year of this experiment, and we have made some appropriate changes. Moreover, the NFHS, in its most recent interpretation of the “tiebreaker, suggests first calling “stalemates when in doubt rather than indicating stalling. This is an offspring of West Virginia’s own Stall Procedure pilot study. Because of Warren Carter, we are making progress in the troublesome area of stalling.
Be it wrestling or any other sport that the WVSSAC has jurisdiction over, Mr. Carter will always be known as an Ambassador of Positive Change and Good Sportsmanship. In truth, he has always been a leader who placed fairness far above winning or losing in West Virginia athletics.
I believe I speak for the majority of officials and coaches across the Mountain State when I say, “Thank you, Warren Carter, for a job well done!