by Chevonne Mansfield, American Athletic Conference Director of Communications
He has just six years of experience in the industry, but I am willing to bet nearly everyone in CoSIDA and others in athletics communications have heard of or know Lamar Carter.
The 2016 Rising Star University Division Award recipient is a resourceful, self-taught renaissance man known for his big personality. The self-proclaimed selfie king, you may have seen Lamar snapping photos with the likes of CoSIDA leaders Shelly Poe, Rob Knox, Andy Seeley, and countless others, during our annual convention.
Carter is in his first year as assistant director of athletics communications at the University of California, Berkeley where he works with the track and field, women’s soccer and women’s golf programs. He previously served a two-and-a-half year tenure at Howard University, and began his athletics communications career at NJCAA Division I ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Carter's entry into the profession was non-traditional. In 2004, in his first semester at his alma mater Rutgers University, Lamar became a member of the women’s basketball practice squad after getting a referral from a friend. Lamar’s original plans were to walk-on the men’s basketball team, but the team did not have tryouts that semester. Lamar’s love of basketball gave him a different route as a practice player for the women’s team, and that led to an opportunity to cover women’s basketball at The Daily Targum, Rutgers’ student newspaper.
Through his work as a photographer and a freelance writer for the student paper, Lamar formed a working relationship with former Rutgers women’s basketball media relations contact Stacey Brann Hotchkiss and was introduced to athletics communications through her. She remains one of Carter’s mentors to this day.
“Working at The Daily Targum was a transformative experience,” Lamar said. “I got to know Stacey Brann and Vivian Stringer,
Lamar graduated from Rutgers in 2009 and wanted a career in sports media, but stepped out of athletics temporarily to work for his sister’s non-profit organization. Soon enough, though, Lamar got the itch and missed working in sports. A chance meeting with Adia Revell, former women’s basketball coach at ASA College, during the 2010 West 4th/Nike Pro-Am Women’s Basketball Summer League led Lamar to his first full-time position: a hybrid coaching/SID role at ASA College. At that point, Lamar was looking to coach full-time and jumped at the opportunity.
“I was a manager, a DOBO (director of basketball operations) type of person, for the league champions in 2006,” Lamar said. “I ran into Adia that summer (of 2010) and she mentioned the opportunity at ASA College.”
Carter served in the dual role at ASA College from 2010-11, and then continued solely as the assistant sports information director under former Director Tim Slakas from 2011-13. He then joined Howard University in August 2013.
Carter was the primary contact for 11 sports during his time at Howard. His feature stories & pitches appeared on regional, national and international platforms, including espnW. He successfully submitted Howard’s first-ever ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Play during his time there, and was a member of the campus-wide committee responsible for the new athletics logo/branding launch that was completed in July 2015. Lamar’s photography skills also came in handy during his time at Howard.
“I purchased my first piece of expensive camera equipment in 2013 and put it to good use,” Lamar said.
At Howard, Lamar was the creative director for volleyball and women’s soccer poster shoots, and a student-worker assisted by taking photos. Those were the only two posters printed at Howard that fall, and it gave extra publicity to sports overshadowed by football. It is just one of the many examples of how Lamar was savvy with his resources at a low-resource institution.
After just two-and-half years, Lamar parlayed his success at Howard into an assistant job at Cal. He has been in Berkeley the last few months, joining the staff in February.
There were bumps along the way, of course. Lamar learned Stat Crew the hard way, after inputting a football game from game film after striking out at live in-game scoring. During his time at ASA College, he had a ghastly commute, traveling an hour each way on public transportation from Newark, N.J. He also was also born into difficult circumstances. Lamar’s mother passed away from AIDS at a young age when he was a baby, and he has never met his father. Seeing all of his success and positivity despite the cards he was dealt at an early age is admirable.
In six short years, Lamar has accomplished what for some might be called a career: recognition and awards, working with legendary coaches and handling publicity for different schools under the NJCAA and NCAA umbrellas. His career path brings him great pride.
“I have found a profession that has accepted me equally and unequivocally,” Lamar said.