WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Greg Walker
Pole vaulting his way into the West Virginia University record books, Jack Carter helped usher in a new and successful era of Mountaineer track and field.
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Born June 2, 1944, at New York City, Carter was the NCAA runner-up in the pole vault at the 1966 NCAA indoor track and field championships in Detroit, and a two-time Southern Conference pole vault champion.
A three-year letterman in track and field, Carter, a native of Westbury, N.Y., achieved All-America honors as a junior with a vault of 15'8" at the NCAA meet; he missed the national championships as a senior with a hamstring injury.
Competing as a 6-2, 180-pounder, Carter once captured Southern Conference titles in the pole vault, in gymnastics on the horizontal bar and in diving at three different sites on the same weekend. Carter will be inducted into the WVU Hall of Fame along with his former gymnastics coach, Bill Bonsall.
Carter's influence was felt by other universities as well. Once, during his junior season, Carter's ankle nicked a ceiling light while pole vaulting at an indoor track meet at VMI. That episode caused VMI to renovate its indoor facility. Incidentally, he did clear the bar on that attempt.
After his college days, he entered the U.S. Air Force where he won the pole vaulting gold medal at the World Military Championships in Paris. After serving out his tour with the Air Force, Carter focused on becoming a decathlete, and was invited to the 1972 Olympic trials, where he finished eighth. The athlete then made the transition to the pentathlon, and in 1974, he won the U.S. national pentathlon championship.
Carter's affiliation with athletics continued after the conclusion of his competitive days. Currently, he is a physical education instructor at Ellenville Central School. Carter also coaches track, cross country and gymnastics for Ellenville. He and his wife Brenda founded the Ellenville gymnastics program 18 years ago.
Carter has always had a flair for adventure; during his freshman year at WVU, he and a group of Mountaineer students toured the West Coast of Africa. Even today he likes the outdoors and frequently goes on canoe outings of all types -- river, lake and sea.
Carter and his wife reside in Cuddebackville, N.Y. They have three children.