WKU mourns loss of All-American David Carter

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

David Carter, a member of the WKU Athletics Hall of Fame and an All-American center during his career on the Hill, passed away on Saturday at the age of 67.

Carter played all four years of his collegiate career at WKU (1973-76) at center while also fulfilling the role of snapper on special teams. Carter was chosen as team captain during his senior year in 1976 and earned AP Second Team All-American Honors. Carter was named WKU’s Athlete of the Year during that season as well.

The Hilltoppers compiled a 34-11-1 record during Carter’s time with the team, a stretch that saw WKU win Ohio Valley Conference titles in both 1973 (12-1, 7-0 OVC) and 1975 (11-2, 6-1 OVC). WKU finished as the NCAA Division II runner-ups in both of those seasons. Carter redshirted his freshman year in 1972 and got his chance to start when WKU’s starting center was injured during the second game of 1973. Carter remained in that role for the rest of the year and WKU’s 12-1 record stood as the best result the Hilltoppers ever achieved until it was matched in 2002 and 2015.

The Vincennes, Indiana native was inducted into the WKU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 and was named to the Hilltopper Football All-Century Team in 2018.Carter thanked his coaches from Lincoln High School, Bill Curry and Ray Mills, during his induction speech, expressing his gratitude that his mentors helped him better understand the game of football and for teaching him how to deep snap. Curry and Mills were both Hilltoppers as well.

Carter was first recruited to the Hill by head coach Jimmy Feix and offensive line coach Butch Gilbert. Feix and Gilbert both told Carter he had potential, but Carter said he knew ‘potential’ as “that French word that means you’re not worth a damn.” Carter thanked Gilbert and Feix  for teaching him “the art of playing center and the offensive line”. Carter also recalled Feix’s famous saying, “there is no such thing as luck. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

According to those who knew him, Carter never missed a single snap after he was slotted into the starting lineup, whether that be on offense, punts, field goals or extra points. Carter played in the NFL for nine years (1977-1985) after leaving the Hill, starting in 42 of 121 games played. Carter spent most of his career with the Houston Oilers, working with notable players like Earl Campbell and Ken Stabler. He finished out his playing career as a member of the New Orleans Saints. Carter was a part of the 1978 and 1979 Oilers teams that made back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances, the farthest the franchise would advance until the rebranded Tennessee Titans reached Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999.

Carter is survived by his wife Beth and three sons, Brett, Clay and Tyler. Funeral arrangements have not been completed at this time.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.