Coach Carter Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Coach Carter' is a biographical dramatic film about Ken Carter, a high school basketball coach who made the controversial decision to bench his entire team for academic reasons. The asset provides classroom discussion questions about this movie.

Coach Carter

Thomas Carter's Coach Carter is a 2005 biopic starring Samuel L. Jackson about the Richmond High School basketball coach who sidelined his entire undefeated team when they failed to meet strict academic standards. Carter's story offers powerful messages about teamwork and ethical leadership. The following questions may be used in secondary classrooms to lead discussions about this film.

Richmond Oilers

  • Why does Ken Carter agree to coach the Richmond High School basketball team? What are the disadvantages to accepting this position? Would you have taken the job? Why?
  • What is Coach Carter's first impression of the players? What is the players' first impression of Coach Carter? What are the terms of the contract Carter expects his players to sign? Why do you think the Coach's requirements extend beyond basketball? Would you sign the contract? Explain your answer.
  • Compare the Oilers' basketball practices before Coach Carter to the way Carter conducted practices. What are the skills and behaviors Coach Carter emphasizes? Why do you think Carter takes this approach with this team? What effect does it have on the team's performance? How can you apply this strategy to improving your skills in your pursuits?

Team Struggles

  • Why is Coach Carter reluctant when Damien chooses to transfer to Richmond? Why do you think Carter allows his son to make this decision? What does this reveal about Carter's character? What do you think your parents would have done? Do you agree with Damien's decision? Why?
  • What are some personal struggles faced by the members of the team? How does being part of this team change the way the players view their future? Why is goal-setting important? What are your goals for your future? What are some specific steps you are taking now to achieve those goals?
  • What evidence does Coach Carter find that, although his players are finding success in basketball, they are continuing to flounder in other parts of their lives? How does Carter react to this knowledge? What role do you think coaches and teachers play in helping their students develop values?

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