VCR or DVD (preferred), television or projection system
, Wildland Fire Leadership Values and Principles handouts (single-sided), notepads, writing utensils
Students will identify Wildland Fire Leadership Values and Principles illustrated within Coach Carter
and discuss leadership lessons learned with group members or mentors.
“In 1999, Ken Carter
, a successful sporting goods store owner, accepts the job of basketball coach for his old high school in a poor area of Richmond, CA, where he was a champion athlete. As much dismayed by the poor attitudes of his players as well as their dismal play performance, Carter sets about to change both. He immediately imposes a strict regime typified in written contracts that include stipulations for respectful behavior
, a dress code and good grades as requisites to being allowed to participate. The initial resistance from the boys is soon dispelled as the team under Carter's tutelage becomes an undefeated competitor in the games. However, when the overconfident team's behavior begins to stray and Carter learns that too many players are doing poorly in class, he takes immediate action. To the outrage of the team, the school and the community, Carter cancels all team activities and locks the court until the team shows acceptable academic improvement. In the ensuing debate
, Carter fights to keep his methods, determined to show the boys that they need to rely on more than sports for their futures and eventually finds he has affected them more profoundly than he ever expected.” (Synopsis from amazon.com)
Cast of Main Characters:
Samuel L. Jackson Coach Ken Carter
Rob Brown Kenyon Stone
Channing Tatum Jason Lyle
Texas Battle Maddux
Robert Ri’chard Damien Carter
Nana Gbewonyo Junior Battle
Mel Winkler Coach White
Sidney Faison Ty Crane
Rick Gonzalez Timo Cruz
Antwon Tanner Worm
Denise Dowse Principal Garrison
Various avenues can be pursued depending upon the facilitator’s intent. At a minimum, students can identify the Wildland Fire Leadership Values and Principles that are illustrated in the film. Students should be less concerned with how many principles they view within the film and more concerned with how the principles they do recognize can be used in their self development as a leader.
The film can be viewed in its entirety or by clip selection depending on facilitator intent and time schedules. Another method is to have the employee(s) view the film on his/her and then hold the discussion session.
The DVD version of the film includes a 20-minute interview with Coach Carter.
Full-film Facilitation Suggestion:
When opting for the full-film method, the facilitator should determine a good breaking point near the middle of the film.
1. Review the Wildland Fire Leadership Values and Principles with students.
2. Advise students to document instances within the film that illustrate/violate the Wildland Fire Leadership Values and Principles on the handout provided.
3. Break students into small discussion groups.
4. Show students Coach Carter.
5. Break. (Suggestion: After Coach Carter announces to the team that they will be playing in the Bayhill Holiday Tournament and right before the dance—counter approximately 1:00:40)
6. Begin the guided discussion.
7. Provide a short synopsis with some “ticklers” to pay attention before beginning the rest of the film.
8. Resume the film.
9. Have students discuss their findings and how they will apply leadership lessons learned to their role in wildland fire suppression. Facilitate discussion in groups that have difficulty.
10. Wrap up the session and encourage students to apply leadership lessons learned in their personal and work lives.
Clip Facilitation Suggestion:
1. Review the Wildland Fire Leadership Value or Principle(s) targeted for discussion. (May be given or ask students to identify the value or principle being illustrated after viewing the clip.)
2. Show the clip.
3. Facilitate discussion regarding the clip and corresponding value and/or principle.
4. Break students into small discussion groups.
5. Have students discuss their findings and how they will apply leadership lessons learned to their role in wildland fire suppression. Facilitate discussion in groups that have difficulty.
6. Wrap up the session and encourage students to apply leadership lessons learned in their personal and work lives.
Possible Clip Usage:
The following clips may assist facilitators with leadership discussions. All times are approximate.
8:45 – 15:17 Coach Carter introduces himself to the team and expresses his intent and expectations to the team.
20:12 – 21:47 Coach Carter holds a contract meeting with players and parents.
32:42 – 36:11 Timo wants back on the team. “What do I have to do. . .?” Coach Carter gives what seems to be an impossible task. “What is your deepest fear? Inadequate?”
40:55 – 43:23 Timo fails to perform the required drills to get back on the team. The team members step up and do the drills for him. “One person struggles; we all struggle. One player triumphs
; we all triumph.”
45:39 – 47:47 Coach Carter confronts the team about their attitudes—humiliating opponents and taunting after every score.
48:59 – 53:17 Coach Carter speaks with the team about the insulting use of the term “nigga.” Tells the senior players he feels they can play at the college level but the classroom comes first.
1:18:21 – 1:19:41 Coach Carter talks to players on the way home from winning the Bayhill Holiday Tournament and the party that ensued thereafter. Timo gives Coach Carter feedback on what he thought was the coach’s intent.
1:21:29 – 1:23:41 Coach Carter locks up the gym and cancels practices since many students are failing academically. “We have failed. We’ve failed each other.”
1:23:41 – 1:24:47 Interaction between Coach Carter and Principal Garrison regarding the removal of the lock and the principles behind his actions.
1:27:06 – 1:29:48 Team meeting in the library.
1:39:17 – 1:44:15 School board meeting to determine if the lock on the gym should be removed. Ethical dilemma between winning and learning. “Consider the message you are sending to these boys. Same as sending to pro athletes—they are above the law.”
1:44:15 – 1:47:33 Coach Carter and Principal Garrison discuss his leaving due to the message that is being sent. Players support Coach Carter. Team realizes that they had a contract and must become student athletes in order to get into college and have a better life. Timo gives his rendition of Marianne Williamson’s Our Deepest Fear
from A Return to Love
2:04:35 – 2:05:04 Motivational speech from Coach Carter to players at state game. “But gentlemen, just because you deserve this doesn’t mean they’re gonna give it to you. Sometimes you gotta take what’s yours.
2:07:39 – 2:09:47 Coach Carter’s acknowledgement of a job well done. Thank you. “I had a plan. That plan failed. I came to coach basketball players, and you become students. I came to teach boys and you became men. And for that I thank you.”
Use either method presented above. The mentor should be available to the student to discuss lessons learned from the film as well as incorporating them to the student’s leadership self-development plan.
Encouraging individuals to keep a leadership journal is an excellent way to document leadership values and principles that are practiced.
Suggest other Leadership Toolbox items that will contribute to the overall leadership development of the student.
Hyperlinks have been included to facilitate the use of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program Web site. Encourage students of leadership to visit the Web site at:
2. What is Coach Carter’s intent? Did he accomplish what he set out to do?
3. What message did the principal, school board, teachers and parents send to the player and community with regard to Coach Carter’s enforcing the consequences of the contract? How important is the message that a leader sends to peers, superiors and subordinates?
4. Coach Carter’s leadership style requires that the players show each other respect—one of the Wildland Fire Leadership Values. Identify at least two ways Coach Carter required his players to show respect.
5. Discuss Timo’s speech adapted from Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love.
7. Is Coach Carter’s leadership decision to allow Timo back on the team twice fair to the other team members? Have you experience a similar situation during your career in the wildland fire service? If so, how did you handle the situation?
8. Give an example(s) of team cohesion in the film. What tool does the wildland fire community have to assess team cohesion?
10. Coach Carter truly believes that his duty is to develop his subordinates for the future. As a leader, how can you help develop your subordinates for the future?