North Texas Faculty Profile: Bo Carter

by BoCarter | Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2019
By Lawrence Smelser (Texas A&M ’18, UNT graduate student, Mayborn School of Journalism)
Sam “T. Bo” Carter Jr. strolls into the University of North Texas Frisco Campus showcasing two things he always wears — a huge smile and his black sports coat.
The 66-year-old UNT sports journalism professor enters the classroom, stands at the front of the room with 20 students staring at him and says “So, what teams do you guys think should be in the college football playoffs?”
Each student he calls on gives his or her opinion, and a classwide discussion ensues.
This is an example of a normal day for the professor, mentor, and sports journalist who has made a living covering sports his entire life.
Carter, who has more than 48 years’ experience in sports media, decided to become a professor to pass along his experiences and help mold and mentor students into future leaders of sports journalism.
Some of his interns and assistants have gone on to do big things in the sports world including Drew Martin and Shawn Heilbron. Martin is currently the Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs at the University of Texas and Heilbron is the Director of Athletics at Stony Brook University.
Before becoming a professor at UNT, Carter was a journalism advisor and communications professor at Texas Wesleyan University and Texas Woman’s University.
Carter dreamed of being a sports writer since childhood after witnessing his dad play college football and later become a college football official.
“When I was 12 years old, I wrote a story for a weekly newspaper about our peewee basketball team winning the city championship,” Carter said. “I think my mom typed it up after I wrote it in long hand. We had a big sports family, so I grew up living the dream going to a lot of college games.”
The Sheffield, Alabama native attended Vanderbilt University for his undergraduate career. Carter chose Vanderbilt primarily due to its beautiful campus and because his father attended the school and played football there from 1947-1948. Carter said Vanderbilt is only two hours from Sheffield, so it was a convenient drive from home.
At Vanderbilt, the aspiring journalist wrote for the student newspaper, the Vanderbilt Hustler. At the paper, he covered every sport offered at the university. To say he was busy during college is an understatement. Carter both freelanced for the Nashville Tennessean and worked as a student assistant in the sports information department, all while serving as a reporter and editor at the Vanderbilt Hustler.
While at the Vanderbilt Hustler, Carter wasn’t the only writer who would climb up the ladder in the journalism field. Working alongside him was Skip Bayless (columnist, television personality on FOX, formerly ESPN) and Joe Bob Briggs (film critic, writer and actor).
Four months after graduating from Vanderbilt in 1974, Carter accepted a job as an assistant sports information director at Mississippi State University. Four years later, Carter was promoted to head sports information director and overlooked the department from 1978-1986 while also serving as sports editor for the MSU Alumnus Magazine.
The sports media legend’s name is well known in the college sports world. He has worked in the Big 12, the Southwest Conference, and the SEC.
In 2005, Carter was inducted into the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame.
“It was very unexpected and very exciting,” Carter said. “I was amazed. This guy called and said I have good news you are going to be in the hall of fame. Knowing that your peers elected you to a major award like that was very gratifying. The good thing about college athletics is that you make friends for life.”
Throughout his career, Carter has authored, co-authored and edited seven books including Tales from Aggieland, The Big 12 Handbook, The Team That Time Won’t Forget, SWC Baseball: The Last Roundup, Dizzy – Dean of Baseball & My Podnah, The NACDA 1965-2015 Anniversary Book and the SABR national convention anthology.
The former Commodore currently lives in Carrollton, Texas with his wife Dr. Joanne Carter. She is a bereavement coordinator, chaplain and spiritual counselor at Lion Hospice.
He has been on the SMU football stats crew for 13 years, serves as the Executive Director of National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and is a correspondent for the National Football Foundation.
Despite having an illustrious career and earning countless awards, Carter believes there is one big goal left to accomplish. His wife wants him to write a book on her alma mater and where he landed his first major job — Mississippi State.
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