Q&A with ADM's Garrison Carter

Garrison Carter recently accepted the head football coaching position for your ADM Tigers.  We had the opprotunity for a quick Q&A.

Can you tell us a little bit about your family, what do you and your wife enjoy outside of school / football? Kids?

My wife, Jessica, and I were married last summer. She is constantly amazes me with the effort and energy she pours into her teaching career.  Football is a major part of my life, and she is an amazing coach’s wife.  When we have down time we try to spend it with our families, our two dogs, or on the lake.


Being at a 3A school in Washington, IA and having success what drew you to Adel?

We have poured our hearts and souls into the Washington football program over the past four years and making the decision to leave was definitely not an easy one. Telling the kids here I was leaving was truly one of the most difficult things I have had to do because I love them all to death.  That being said, we could not be more excited to be moving to Adel.  I think that Adel has a lot of things in place to be one of the elite programs in the state of Iowa. 


Taking over a program that has 7 wins over a 3-year period what is priority #1 for you as the head coach?

I think I have three things I want to focus my attention on right away. First of all, we have to get kids out.  In order to do that, we have to be very intentional about forming relationships with every kid in the high school.  We have to create an environment that they can’t live without. 


Secondly, we need to map out our program from 1st Grade through 12th Grade.  I am coming to Adel with the intention that this is going to be where I retire.  So, one of my first things I need to do is recruit elite youth and junior high coaches.  We need to be very intentional about what we want at each grade level and make sure we are all speaking the same language.


Finally, we have to work really hard on instilling our core values into all of our players. This program will be built on a few core values, that I believe are essential to being successful. Our Core Values are as follows:


  • ENERGY:  Relentless effort.  We will practice like we play, and we will play with a tenacity that forces our opponents to quit.
  • COMPETITION:  We will compete in everything we do.  We will be 1-0 on every rep we take.  We will be one-play warriors who always compete.
  • TOUGHNESS:  We will be comfortable being uncomfortable.  We will impose our will and dominate with toughness.  Tough People Win!
  • DISCIPLINE:  We will always do what needs to be done.  We believe in the process.  We will chop wood and carry water every day.
  • FAMILY:  We will value others above ourselves.  We will build others up and “Hold the Rope” for one another.
  • FINISH:  We will finish everything we do.  We will always do more than is expected.

What can fans expect to see from a Garrison Carter coached football team?

 - By signing up to play for us, each player is enrolling in a Leadership Development Program that happens to play football.  We live in world where there are very few places that demand accountability, where kids have to earn everything, and where toughness and teamwork still win out.  While I know you will be proud of the product we put out on the field every Friday night, I promise that you will be even more proud of the men this program produces.


I believe my job as the head football coach is to provide the ADM community with a program they are proud to call their own.  My vision for the ADM football program is to do things better than they have ever been done before through relationships, accountability, and culture. Also, by building a program that consistently competes for championships and is known statewide for class and toughness.  


From a coaching perspective, who are your greatest influences?  Do you model your program after any you have seen or been around?

- Like everyone, I have had several people in my life that have helped shape me into the man I am today. First and foremost, I have to mention my parents.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household where my parents didn’t give me or my brothers any handouts.  They expected us to compete and earn everything.  As much as it frustrated me at times growing up, I cannot thank them enough for that today.


Secondly, my high school coach, Jim Knott, was elite with his ability to be organized, have a vision, and lead a program. I still talk to him multiple times a week.  To this day, he continues to help shape me as a coach.


Finally, I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to become close with some elite high school and college football coaches. There are too many to mention by name, but this group of men has also contributed countless things that have helped shape my coaching philosophy.


Have you had a chance to meet with last year’s assistant coaches and will all be returning?

- I have been able to meet with our coaching staff at ADM a couple of times so far. The final staff is still a work in progress, and it will look slightly different than last year’s staff.  Each coach on our staff will operate under our ADM Football Coach’s 10 Commandments”

  • I WILL BE LOYAL:  The first chink in the armor of any organization is usually disloyalty. We will be loyal to one another – I will defend you, and you will defend me.  It starts with loyalty.
  • I WILL BE ELITE AT ENGAGING WITH KIDS:  This is non-negotiable.  We live in a society where the average parent spends 2.5 minutes a day in meaningful conversation with their children.  It is our responsibility to provide our kids with a program they can’t live without.
  • I WILL COACH WITH UNMATCHED ENTHUSIASM:  You can’t coach with your hands in your pockets, and you can’t coach without a whistle!  As coaches, we will be the “Juice Machine.”  We will set the tempo and energy for everything we do.  Enthusiasm will accomplish what every other effort has failed to do.
  • I WILL BE ALL-IN:  Football is a tremendous time commitment.  There is no secret about that.  Building and maintaining a successful football program at ADM will require a year-round commitment from all coaches on staff.  When there is a football activity going on, all coaches are expected to be in attendance.
  • I WILL BE A GREAT TEACHER:  We will explicitly explain everything.  Never assume they know.  Great coaches have to be great teachers.
  • I WILL CARRY MYSELF WITH INTEGRITY: You cannot be a respected leader if you’re willing to compromise your deepest convictions.  Integrity makes your job easier.  It’s deception and dishonesty that require so much diligent effort.
  • I WILL HAVE EXCELLENT BODY LANGUAGE:  93% of the things we communicate to our players is non-verbal.  This starts with eye contact with your players when you talk to them.  We will understand that we are selling ADM Football and its importance to us with every action we take.
  • I WILL BE ORGANIZED:  There will never be “downtime” at practice.  Have a detailed plan for every second we have with kids.  We will make sure every drill is planned down to the second and is set up and ready to go.
  • I WILL BE A CONTINUAL LEARNER:  We will never be satisfied with where we are at.  We will be relentless with our desire to learn and continue to improve as coaches.  This will come from attending clinics, visiting other high school programs, and attending college practices.
  • I WILL TAKE INITIATIVE:  DO YOUR JOB. It is your responsibility to know what needs to be done to meet the mission, vision, and core values of this program and to get it done.  


You have seen the district and although schedules have not been released we know over the course of the year some miles will be logged?  Do you have a philosophy on getting/keeping gets ready to play?

- Where we play the games is irrelevant, I don’t care if we’re playing on the moon. Each week will we will control what we can control.  No team will out work us and no team will be more prepared then us, and we will have a plan for everything.  After that, we will let the chips fall where they may.


What will you do to assist with the feeder programs and ensure ADM has high participation numbers at the high school level?

- This is a major priority of mine right now.  As much as I am working to build a fantastic coaching staff at the high school level, I am working just as hard to build an elite group of coaches at our junior high and youth levels.  This is something that is very important to me.  I believe that as the head football coach at ADM this this my responsibility.  I am not just the varsity head coach, I am the director of football operations at ADM and this starts in 1st grade.  I think it is essential that we have a plan of development from the time a kid first touches a football, until the lights go out after their last playoff game as a senior.  We will speak the same language top down, and we will focus on player development and participation numbers at the youth and junior levels.


How have you handled concerns regarding concussions in football? How do you manage that in order to keep favorable participation numbers?

- I’m glad you asked this question. There is no question that the game of football is under attack.  There is also no question that there are safety risks with playing this game.  With that being said, I think it is important to understand that the game of football is safer now than it has ever been.  At ADM we will be very intentional about player safety and teaching kids to keep their heads out of the game.  I think it’s important to remember that there are risks with everything we do in life.  However, I also think we need the game of football.  If all that kids learn as part of our program is how to block and tackle, then I am failing them mightily.  I talked about this earlier, but we are teaching kids essential skills for life every second they are with us.  We are teaching them things like how to work in large groups, that competition and toughness still matter and delayed gratification just to name a few.  I believe strongly that the benefits of playing this game, far outweigh the risks involved.


What is your vision for the ADM community to support the football program? What do you feel you need from the community to assist in this exciting new era?

- We are an “open door” program. This is not Coach Carter’s team, this is not ADM High School’s team, this is the ADM communities football team.  I think for us to reach the levels of success that we all dream of it has to be a community effort.  I can’t wait to get to Adel to start meeting people and getting people involved with this program at all levels.  I genuinely believe we are going to do some special things at ADM and I am excited for everyone to be part of the ride!