Serving success: Doug Carter’s remarkable tennis odyssey

The Brock Badgers are highlighting Black student-athlete stories through a series of features as part of the University’s celebration of Black History Month/African Heritage Month in February. A list of events taking place throughout the month is available on ExperienceBU.

It was during his time at Brock that Doug Carter (BPhEd ’81) carved out a name for himself, both on the tennis court with the Badgers and in the University’s history books.

The Brock graduate dominated in varsity tennis in the 1970s, an era that saw the sport’s global scene reach a ‘golden age’ of popularity.

In 1980, Carter became Brock’s first Black student-athlete to be named Male Athlete of the Year following a momentous season when he secured a top-two finish at the Ontario University Athletic Association (OUAA) Championship final and a first-place finish in the divisional championships.

He remains the only varsity tennis player to earn the award at Brock.

The experiences, mentorship and enduring connections he found at Brock and with the Badgers served as a strong foundation for a lifelong career in tennis and education.

Coached by Physical Education Professor David Staniford, an Australian-born tennis aficionado, Carter and his teammates were a force to be reckoned with on the courts.

The Badgers routinely finished in the top of the university circuit, with Carter winning several singles events and placing first with his doubles partner, Ian Jamieson, in the province during the 1977-78 season.

“We didn’t even have tennis courts back then. We had the parking lot,” Carter recalled. “We had to travel to local tennis sites. Dr. Staniford often said ‘if there’s a court to be found, you will find it.’ We would travel around the region to discover courts we could train on, and we went to work. We did our thing.”

Off the court, the influence of Brock’s Physical Education professors and staff became a cornerstone of Carter’s career. Names such as Arnie Lowenberger, Jane Evans, Lorne Adams, Jean Wilson, Val Drake and Bob Davis remain imprinted in his memory.

“It’s so interesting to return to Brock. When I walk around campus, I see so many buildings named after our lecturers and professors at the time,” Carter said. “It’s neat to see their names on the walls now. I recall the camaraderie of everyone on campus as a great time in my life.”

That sense of community extended to friendships with fellow students, including bonds formed during his inaugural year of residence in Macdonald House.

“We shared a lot of laughs and met good friends there,” he said. “Visits to Alphie’s Trough and the BlueLine Bar after hockey games were the epicentre of cherished memories for me.”

After his playing days at Brock ended, Carter began coaching with the Badgers before going on to earn Coach of the Year awards from Tennis Canada in 1997 and from 2011 to 2017 for his work with junior players.

He also travelled around the world with Canada’s national wheelchair tennis programs, which included former Badger and two-time Canadian wheelchair tennis champ Joel Demby (BSM ’07). Demby was ranked first in Canada when Carter served as the Deputy Tournament Director for the 2015 Para Pan Am Games.

He credits his mother, Volda, who was a national seniors tennis champion in Guyana, and his mentors for his success.

“There’s always accolades that come with sport and throughout life, but it really it boils down to your mentors. Through those years, who made the difference?” he said. “Now, I’ll be 67 this year and I look back at who had an influence on my path.”

Born in 1956 in Georgetown, Guyana, Carter’s family moved from South America to the east end of Toronto in 1964. Today, he resides in St. Catharines with his wife, Laurie Mann Carter (BPhEd ’79, BEd ’80), whom he met at Brock, and their children James and Laurene.

After obtaining his Bachelors of Physical Education with honours from Brock, Carter remained committed to bridging the gap between athletics and education, leaving an indelible mark on the local tennis community throughout his career.

He began working at White Oaks in 1981 shortly after the club opened in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where he met Niagara Academy of Tennis (NAT) founder Lezlie Murch.

Over the course of two decades, he has served in a number of roles at NAT, including as Vice President, teacher and Tennis Director. Carter was instrumental in crafting an environment where students in Grades 7 to 12 could pursue post-secondary athletic scholarships and professional tennis dreams. He is currently the NAT Club Manager and Tennis Pro.

Carter remained connected to the Brock tennis team by serving as coach from 1986 until the early 1990s.

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