The preseason No. 3-ranked WTAMU Buffalo football team suffered a blow on Aug. 22 as Head Coach Don Carthel was relieved of his duties. The reason, as cited by WT Athletic Director Michael McBroom, falls under NCAA bylaw 10 section one. The bylaw covers the general topic of unethical conduct by a university’s administration.
The incident occurred this past summer when Carthel went to a Texas Rangers baseball game with two student-athletes while attending the Lone Star Conference Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Carthel paid for the tickets, but was reimbursed after the game in compliance with NCAA regulations. The mistake occurred when Carthel told McBroom that the reimbursement occurred before the game.
“I answered yes, thinking that perhaps I had made a mistake by not collecting the money before the game,” said Carthel. “I later learned that what I had done was not an NCAA violation.”
Carthel spent eight seasons coaching the Buffs to a 79-22 record. Carthel led WT to eight winning seasons, six NCAA Division II playoff appearances, including last year’s National Semifinal. He also took the Buffs took five Lone Star Conference Championships and two Kanza Bowl appearances.
“I would like everyone to know what a privilege it has been to teach and coach at West Texas A&M over the past eight years,” Carthel said in his written statement.
On Sept. 15, 2012, Carthel passed Joe E. Kerbel for the wins in WT history in a 40-10 win against Texas A&M-Kingsville at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Last season, he was named LSC Co-Coach of the Year, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Super Region Four Coach of the Year and the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame Coach of the Year. None of Carthel’s accolades or wins will be affected by the violation.
“Don handled this situation how we expected him to handle it, with class and integrity,” said McBroom. “He understood the situation and took responsibility for it.”
McBroom introduced Assistant Coach Mike Nesbitt as the Interim Head Coach for the entire 2013 season. McBroom says the decision was made because Nesbitt gives the team the best continuity going forward.
Some of the WT community has shown their respect and support for Coach Carthel through social media. Former and current Buffs have posted on Facebook and Twitter their continuing admiration of their former coach. Even some students have gone to social media to show their s
The Buffs will have to turn their attention to football on Sept. 7 when they open the season on the road against Western State. WT’s home opener will be Sept. 21 versus Texas A&M-Commerce. Another notable game will be Nov. 16 as the Buffs travel to Wichita Falls to take on Co-LSC Champions Midwestern State.