Harlan Carter was a man who was dedicated to working with young people. This dedication inspired him in his role as a teacher and coach at Shasta High School.
As a lifetime resident of Redding, Carter graduated from Shasta High School in 1930 and excelled in the major sports during his high school career. He went to Chico State College, where he was active in athletics, then on to Stanford University. He began his teaching and coaching career at Shasta High in 1938, and remained there until his untimely death in 1971 at the age of 59.
While serving as head coach, he attained statewide prominence in basketball. Carter became the leading advocate and pilot to the Annual Acker Round Robin Basketball Tournament, which was a tradition in the North Valley for two decades. This professor of the Harlan Carter Tournament brought the best high schools in Northern California together for competition. Nationally, Carter became prominent when he was selected to serve a four-year term as a High School Representative for the National Association of Basketball Coaches and President of the California Coaches Association.
Additionally, he was instrumental in the arrangement of a cultural and athletic exchange program between Shasta High School and Poza Rica, Mexico.
Shortly after his untimely death in 1971, Coach Carter was posthumously honored by his fellow educators and students when the Shasta High Gym was renamed the Harlan Field Carter Gym in October of 1971 and this tournament was renamed for Coach Carter in its second year. Citing his life-long dedication to young people as a teacher and basketball coach he was the first of five Shasta County athletes inducted into the Shasta County Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 as well as the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986.
If the success of former players and students can be a tribute to a coach, Harlan Carter was very gratified. His former players included: Jim Padgett, head coach of the University of Nevada; Dick Lamoreaux, former coach of Enterprise High School and Lassen College; George Kutas, and Mario Serafin of Shasta College; and George Economou of Shasta High.
Locally, Carter became known as "Mr. Basketball" because of his unending support of the game. Hopefully his memory and dedication to the game will be perpetuated by this tournament and by the participation of the teams.
HARLAN FIELD CARTER
In the spring of 1970, Mr. Dick Lamoureax, then the Varsity Basketball Coach and Director at Enterprise High School, requested the Shasta Union High School District Athletics Directors consider the idea of an opening weekend tournament hosted by our district. As many tournaments only invite the varsity teams, this left junior varsity teams without games for that weekend. It was decided to invite both varsity and junior varsity teams from each school. The athletic directors approved the tournament request, which was then approved by administration and superintendent. The host of the tournament was to rotate each year between Enterprise, Central Valley, and Shasta. In 1991, the brand new Foothill High School joined the ranks of the Shasta Union High School District. Because of their small size, Foothill was not involved in the Harlan Carter Tournament until 1994. Central Valley High School dropped out of the Shasta Union High School District when they became part of the Gateway School District; thus leaving Enterprise, Shasta, and Foothill High Schools as the host schools of the Harlan Carter Invitational Basketball Tournament.
In 1970 the first Annual Shasta Union High School District Tournament was held at Shasta College (varsity) and Central Valley High School (junior varsity). The district invited schools in the Shasta College attendance area - Central Valley and Enterprise district schools, Dunsmuir, Fall River, Trinity, Burney, Eureka, and Fortuna rounded out the eight-team bracket. Shasta High School, also a district school, was not included in the first two tournaments as they had a two-year contract with two Sacramento schools.
In the spring of 1971, Mr. Harlan Carter, teacher and former varsity basketball coach at Shasta High School, passed away after a brief illness. Mr. John Riley, principal of Central Valley High School and long-term friend of Harlan Carter, suggested that we dedicate the district tournament in his memory. The name of the second tournament was changed to the Second Annual Harlan Carter Invitational Basketball Tournament.
The Third Annual Harlan Carter Invitational Basketball Tournament was hosted by Shasta High School. It was decided that the host school would be responsible for choosing the tournament teams. Participating schools were Central Valley, Enterprise, Shasta (for the first time), Albany, Pleasant Valley, Rio Americana, Hiram Johnson, and Grant.
Over twenty years ago, girls' high school athletics in this area didn't have a large following or very much media coverage. On Thursday, December 12, 1974, the Record Searchlight, for the first time, mentioned the Shasta High Girls were hosting a fourteen game basketball tournament. The following day, a small box score revealed Shasta 40 and Corning 25.
In later tournaments, additional competitive events were held at the Harlan Carter Invitational Basketball Tournament. These events were the competitions for cheerleaders, song leaders, three point shooting, and slam-dunk contests.