The sneakers will still be squeaking on the hardwood, the basketballs will still be swishing through the net and the crowd will still be cheering at Athens High School basketball games next season, but the experience will be lacking without David Carter's voice booming over the public address system.
Carter, who had been the announcer for boys and girls basketball games in Athens for about 10 years, died Sunday of a heart attack as he was bicycling through Canebrake subdivision. He was 57.
“I don't think you can replace a David Carter,” Athens girls basketball coach Eddie Murphree said. “He would talk to the kids and give them encouraging words, and he was always doing something extra for the kids to make their seasons special. It's a huge loss.”
Murphree said Carter took his job as basketball announcer seriously and was always trying to come up with ways to make the basketball game experience better for the players and fans.
“He brought his own laptop and his own music,” Murphree said. “He would spend hours practicing exactly when to cue the music in, how to pronounce the names correctly and how to add extra stuff into it. A few years ago in December, he brought Christmas lights and put them on the scorer's table and played Christmas music. He would do all sorts of things to liven up the games.”
Athens boys basketball coach Stace Tedford said Carter put his heart into everything he took part in, including his duties with Athens basketball.
“David was probably one of the best people I've ever met,” Tedford said. “He had a heart that just gave to everybody. He was so unselfish. He was there for every home game being the PA announcer, playing the music and having stuff planned out. He took a lot of pride in that and took pride in helping the kids from our school and promoting them. He's a person who just gave and gave and never asked for anything in return.”
Carter's personality and giving spirit drew people to him, Tedford said.
“All the kids loved him, the players loved him and the student section loved him,” he said. “He was an unbelievable supporter of both girls and boys basketball, and he always encouraged me and my staff. He put the community and those kids before himself.”
Carter served as children and young families pastor at First Baptist Church in Athens. After his death, tributes came pouring in on Facebook from people whose lives were touched by Carter through the church. Murphree said Carter's impact, whether through his work at the church or the school, can't be overstated.
“David Carter helped lead my two children to Christ,” Murphree said. “He would volunteer and help anybody at any time. The day he passed, he was on his bicycle to go see some kids in the community at Canebrake. I have a feeling the last breath he took here and the first breath he took in heaven, God probably said, 'Well done my good and faithful servant.'”