ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
It was recently announced on WCPoets.com that longtime Whittier College Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rock Carter will be retiring from coaching at the end of this current academic year. Taking his place as head coach for the following 2017-2018 academic school year is none other than former Assistant Coach Mark Jensen.
For the past 22 years, Carter has been balancing his Head Coaching position with his other position as Senior Associate Athletics Director. Now, as full-time Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Carter can focus his time on overseeing the internal operations of all twenty-two intercollegiate sports team in Division III, as well as staffing within the Whittier College Athletic Department.
In an interview with The Quaker Campus, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of Athletics Robert Coleman explained that Carter has been considering making this career change for some time now. “Rock and I have had discussions related to the next step in his career for the past few years,” said Coleman. “He will now concentrate his efforts on being our full-time Senior Associate Athletic Director.”
After officially announcing his retirement, Carter had an interview with WCPoets.com inwhich he expressed his excitement for the next phase of his career. “This is just another step in continuing the growth and success of the Athletics Department,” said Carter. “We have so many good things in place within the athletic department and I am excited that this piece has been added. [Coleman’s] energy and vision for the success of athletics is genuine and it helps generate a sense of involvement. Over the last couple of years, we have discussed strategies and responsibilities that will take more time and energy that I couldn’t give if I was coaching.”
According to WCPoets.com, Coach Carter began his coaching career shortly after obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education. In 1989, Carter was hired as Whittier College’sJunior Varsity (JV) Head Coach, and he served as head coach for another four years. During his time as JV Head Coach, Carter acquired a .681 winning percentage and won three JV conference championships, starting his reputation as one of the Whittier College Coaches with the most wins.
Along with his position as a JV Head Coach, Carter was also hired as the Whittier College Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach, coaching alongside former Head Coach Dave Jacobs for four years before moving up to the position of interim Head Coach for the 1993 to 1994 season. After finishing his last season as both JV Head Coach and Assistant Varsity Coach in 1994, Carter was officially given the position of Head Coach.
During Carter’s coaching career here at Whittier College, he was able to achieve several great accomplishments. As it says on WCPoets.com, Carter “amassed a 274-259 record since he took over the program prior to the 1995-96 season. He has guided his teams to eleven winning seasons, which includes an 18-8, 10-4 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) record in 2011-12 and in the last five years his teams have earned a spot in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Post-season Tournament four times.”
Current Interim Head Coach Mark Jensen will take Carter’s place as Head Coach. “There is no one that knows our Men’s Basketball program better than Mark,” said Coleman in an interview with WCPoets.com. “As an alumnus of the college, he cares deeply about the program, and as an assistant coach for the past twelve years, he has worked extremely hard for this opportunity. I am excited for him and I know he will set the bar high and dedicate his energy and focus to Poet basketball.”
Jensen began his coaching career as Assistant Coach for Men’s Basketball at Cypress College in 2000 shortly after graduating from Whittier College with a Bachelor’s in History. While in pursuit of his Masters in History, Jensen coached alongside former NBA All-Star Craig Ehlo whom he “credits for influencing the way he approaches teaching the details of the game.” When Jensen returned to SoCal, he was assistant coach at Rio Hondo Junior College before returning to his Alma Mater. There, he remained Assistant Coach under Rick Carter until last week, when he was promoted to Head Coach.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead our Men’s Basketball program going forward,” said Jensen in an interview with WCPoets. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of for a long time and something Coach Carter has prepared me for during the twelve years we’ve been together. I am grateful to President Sharon Herzberger, Rob Coleman and Rock Carter for having faith in me and the vision to take this program into its next phase, and I can’t wait to get started with this fantastic group of young men.”