By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
According to Texas A&M University-Commerce Head Coach Colby Carthel, building the team’s will to win is his first priority.
“Everyone wants to win, but not everyone has the willpower to do it,” he said during the Tuesday meeting of the Commerce Lions Club. “The guys that are going to be here are going to be tough and will be here for the right reason.”
Carthel said the first obstacle that needs to be torn down is individualism.
“I was at the basketball game and one of our receivers walked up to me and said he was going to ‘The League’,” he said. “This kid was red-shirted, never caught a collegiate pass and was academically ineligible last year. I told him to shut up because he was sounding stupid. The team is first, the individual, second.”
Last year, A&M-Commerce had a total of four season ticket holders for the football games. Carthel said that will change when the football team he helped create steps on the field.
“Four season ticket holders is pretty ridiculous,” he said. “We’re going to improve that by winning on the field. Our new offensive coordinator will play ‘basketball on grass’. As a former defensive coordinator I like the running game with a few passes, but this is fun to play and fun to watch.”
According to Carthel, the key to a good football program is not just winning on the field, but also creating an atmosphere that carries over and seeps into the city.
“We’ve got to make it a gameday event in Commerce, Texas,” he said. “We’ve got to rebuild those relationships and mend fences with alumni and restore overall confidence in the program.”
Carthel said much of his love for football, and the Lone Star Conference, came from being a ball boy when Earnest Hawkins, former head coach of East Texas State University, coached the Lions.
Carthel has already earned the nickname “Bear”, after former Texas A&M University head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, among the players and members of the community because of his tough spring practices he has his players going through.
Carthel said that’s a name he’ll wear with pride.
“I’m proud to say we had over 60 pukes in one day,” he said. “At one time there were seven guys puking around the same trash can.”
This year’s team will have more junior college transfers than it has in the past. Carthel said the reason why is so it will allow him to red shirt some of his true freshmen coming in and be able to compete right out of the gate.
With his wife finishing out this semester as assistant coach of the Lady Buffs, the West Texas A&M University’s volleyball team in Canyon, Carthel said he’s been able to focus solely on one thing.
“I’m living in a dorm at Smith Hall with six other guys right now,” he said. “So the only thing there is to do is coach.”