Entering the 2004-05 season, Eddie McCarter needs just three more victories to tie Bob "Snake" LeGrand as the winningest men1s basketball coach at The University of Texas at Arlington since the school became a four-year university in 1959-60, but the Mavericks1 11th year head coach isn1t focused on just those first three wins. Rather, his attention is set on preparing his team to win every night it hits the court. McCarter1s intensity is well known throughout college basketball circles, and he enjoys having his team prepared to play with that same intensity throughout the season.
That intensity has played well in Arlington, and the likeable coach now ties LeGrand, who led the Mavericks from 1976-87, as the second longest tenured coaches in UTA men1s hoops history. Only Tom Tinker, who coached for 23 years, including UTA1s first seven as a four-year school, paced the sidelines for a longer period of time. Among Southland Conference coaches, only Louisiana-Monroe1s Mike Vining has been at his respective school longer.
This season, McCarter is looking to put his team near the top of the conference standings and get one more crack at its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid by charging through the SLC Tournament. His team1s experience will help, but if the squad can adopt McCarter1s intensity and enthusiasm, that could be the key to a solid year.
McCarter took over the squad in 1992 and led the Mavericks to a surprising 16-12 record, the third winningest season in school history. In 1994-95, the Mavericks won their final three games of the regular season and earned a trip to the SLC Post-Season Tournament. The next season, after losing four of his five starters, McCarter's squad was picked by all the so-called experts to finish last in the SLC. Not only did McCarter surprise the experts by posting a 12-15 record, he led the Mavericks to an 8-8 mark in the SLC and a trip to the Century Cellunet/SLC Basketball Classic.
Again picked by many to finish at the bottom of the league in 1997-98, McCarter's squad battled it's way to an 8-8 conference record and a sixth seed in the post-season tournament. Given no chance to win the tournament, McCarter rallied his team to a first-round victory over third seeded Texas-San Antonio (66-62). Bucking all the odds in the second round, UTA busted up second-seeded Northwestern State's senior-laden squad with a 77-72 victory for a berth in championship game. Regular season champion Nicholls State, which scored a season-high 102 points against the Mavs in Texas Hall on Jan. 24, faced their toughest challenge of the year in the battle for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Mavericks fought back from an 11 point deficit in the first half and trailed at halftime 42-40. The second half was all UTA, taking the lead at the 17:17 mark and holding it for the next 16 minutes, including a 78-69 advantage with 5:13 to play. The shocking run ended with NSU claiming an 84-81 victory.
McCarter1s team impressed again in 1999-2000 and 2000-01, when he led the Mavericks to back-to-back 11-win SLC records, tying the team1s record for most conference wins in a season.
McCarter has experienced successful stops on three different levels--high school, junior college and at the NCAA Division I plateau. As a matter of fact, from 1988 until taking over the reins of the Mavs in 1992, McCarter marched his way through Charles Henderson High School, Howard Junior College and a two-year stint as an assistant coach of the Mavericks.
McCarter began his coaching career in 1976 at Fairfield High School in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala. In three seasons as both an assistant varsity and junior varsity coach, McCarter helped FHS post a 57-28 record on the varsity level and a 48-20 mark in the J.V.
McCarter then joined the head coaching ranks in 1979 when he moved to Troy, Ala. to take over the program at Charles Henderson High School. And it didn't take him long to establish himself as one of the premier young coaches in the state. In nine years at CHHS, McCarter's teams posted a 188-74 record, earned three trips to the Alabama State Tournament and a berth in the 1986-87 championship game. In addition, his teams won four South Alabama Tournament titles, four area championships, three South Alabama Conference titles and a pair of regional championships. For his efforts, McCarter was named South Alabama "Coach of the Year" five times.
From 1988 through 1992, McCarter's climb up the coaching ladder was as quick as the run-and-gun style of play he promotes. In 1988, McCarter was named assistant coach and primary recruiter at Howard (Texas) Junior College, where four years later UTA Head Coach Mark Nixon convinced him to join the Mavericks in a similar role as assistant coach and chief recruiter.
McCarter, who earned a Bachelor's degree in 1975 from Alabama-Birmingham, has three children, Tracey, Preston and the late James Edward McCarter.