By JOSEPH HAMRICK
After being announced as the new athletic director just two weeks ago, Ryan Ivey named Colby Carthel as the new head coach of the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team.
“We worked relentlessly to get this job filled with someone who knows what it takes to win and turn this program around,” Ivey said. “Today we take the first step with that goal.”
Carthel spent his last seven years as defensive coordinator for a West Texas A&M University team that went 69-20. As defensive coordinator, Carthel’s defense produced 70 All-Lone Star Conference selections, seven Lone Star Conference Players of the Year and he has coached or recruited 13 players that went on to play in the National Football League.
“Winning programs are about people,” Carthel said. “President Jones has a desire to be a winning team again, and Ryan Ivey, we see things the same. I’m looking forward to working with them to change the image of the program.”
Carthel played middle linebacker for Angelo State from 1996-2000, where he played against A&M-Commerce at Memorial Stadium. And according to him, his goal is to restore the bond between the university and the city to where it was when he played.
“I remember Commere when it was great,” he said. “We’ve got to build relationships and mend fences with disgruntled alumni. And we have to put a product East Texas is proud of.”
Carthel said building winning teams begins with character and academics.
“Sixty-two percent of football players come from fatherless homes,” he said. “We’re going to build a strong Christian house. I want to have people who want to do right on and off the field. Teachers work with us, because it’s not about getting them eligible to play, it’s about getting them a degree.”
Former head coach Guy Morriss relied on recruiting a majority of his players from junior colleges. Carthel said he will be looking for local talent to fill most of his roster, and recruiting from junior colleges for his more high profile players.
“I’m looking to recruit four-year players,” he said. “We’re going to build this team with east Texas talent to fill a majority of our core players.”
National Signing Day is on Feb. 6, and recruiting players is going to be his first priority in building his team.
“Someone once said recruiting is a lit like shaving, you’ve got to shave every day or you’re going to look like a bum,” he said. “Well I quit shaving so I could have more time to recruit. We’re going to turn over every rock and every stone to build the team we need.”
A&M-Commerce has a total of 21 LSC championships, which is second all time in the conference. According to Carthel, there are three goals that correspond with dates he wants his team to meet.
“2001 was the last year there was a winning season,” he said. “1990 was the last year we outright won the conference. And we all remember what happened in 1972 when we won the championship. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we can start building the foundation today.”