Leechburg’s Andre Carter takes over athletic director post at challenging time

Friday, June 26, 2020 | 4:12 PM

When Andre Carter came to Leechburg in August 2018 to coach the girls basketball team, he noted player development as one of his strengths.

Now, as he gets ready to take over as the athletic director after Mark Jones announced he is retiring after 15 years in the position, the 48-year-old Carter said he’s excited for the opportunity to help continue the development of the entire athletic program.

“I never thought about being an athletic director, but being a coach here, I always communicated with Mark,” said Carter, who was hired in late March and officially assumes his duties July 1. “We talked about some of the things he had done as athletic director, and he put the bug in my ear once he said he was retiring. He encouraged me to apply.

“I’ve met a lot of athletes outside of girls basketball just from networking and also because Leechburg is such a small school. I’ve interacted with the coaches and have attended a lot of the other sporting events. A lot of other athletes have come to support the girls basketball team, and my girls have done the same for other sports. It is such a close athletic community.”

Carter will continue to coach the girls basketball team.

“Coaching basketball was still a high priority, and my first question was if I would still be able to coach,” he said. “They said there was no conflict of interest, and the administration would work with me so I can fulfill both roles.”

Carter, who played football and basketball at Valley and graduated from Duquesne University, said the past couple of months have kept him on his toes amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the time of his hire, he was looking forward to seeing the spring athletes in action. He was saddened when the seasons were canceled, especially for the seniors.

“When I was hired, there still was that possibility that spring seasons would eventually happen,” Carter said. “Someone like Jake Blumer, I was at his six-touchdown game, and he had scored his 1,000th point in basketball. I had heard he was also a good baseball player. I wanted to see him play this spring and follow that progress. He and many others, I was disappointed for all of them.”

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office earlier this month released guidance on the steps high school teams must take to resume on-field activities this summer. That includes each district developing an athletic health and safety plan and having that plan approved by the school board.

The Leechburg School Board on Wednesday approved the plan assembled by several administration leaders, and Carter said he’s ready to do his part to help the athletes return.

He said he’s in the process of working with all of the coaches and athletes to implement the rules and regulations. He said the date for coaches to begin their workouts will be at their discretion.

“There is so much in that health and safety plan that each coach has to do at each workout,” Carter said. “Everything in the plan will help guide us to keep our kids safe. That’s our top priority.”

Carter feels his experience as a real estate investment manager and music manager translates well to his duties as athletic director.

“I’m used to working on the logistics of things, making sure budgets are right, the structure of what I am working on is efficient as possible and all the pieces can fall into place properly,” he said. “This is me. It fits my personality of working closely with people, and I look forward to communicating with the coaches, the athletes, and the parents to get things done.”

Carter’s colleague, Blue Devils boys basketball coach Damian Davies, said he is looking forward to working with Carter in this new capacity.

“The legacy that Coach Jones left was the willingness to put a lot of time in and do whatever he could for his coaches,” Davies said. “I think that Coach Carter will do the same thing. On the basketball court, he’s shown that he’s not afraid to give a lot of his time for his players. That’s what makes me feel he will do the same for the AD position. He’s a very dedicated person.”

Carter said he is hopeful that fall preseason practices, scrimmages and seasons can begin and run as scheduled.

“I think it is still a little too early to say with a lot of uncertainties still out there,” he said. “But everyone continues to work together to find the safest way to get the teams and athletes playing again.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.


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