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Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Texas coach resigns after promising to pay players

Associated Press

Longtime Denison (Texas) High School boys basketball coach Earl Carson has resigned after promising his players he would give them a dollar each time they took a charge.

In a telephone interview Monday night with The Associated Press, Carson said his season-end tally came to $23, to be spread among 12 kids.

I'm not going to try to fight anything on this. I did the crime; I need to do the time.
Earl Carson

Within two days, he said, Denison athletics director Bob Brown came to him and said, "We have a problem."

"I thought, well, it's probably not that big a deal, but it turns out, it was," said Carson, who coached Denison 17 years and averaged more than 20 wins a season.

Brown checked with the University Interscholastic League, which governs athletic and academic competition among public schools in Texas, and was told the offer violated the intent of the amateur rule.

"It was a frivolous thing, poor judgment, and if I had it to do over, I wouldn't do it, obviously. It was foolish. I was trying to motivate them, I guess," Carson said.

It was unclear whether the players received the money from Carson, who said his offer sprouted from a lesson in defense.

"This was a little after Thanksgiving," he said. "I was talking to them about defense and taking a charge. I said, 'I'll tell you what. I'll give you a dollar for every time you take a charge.'

"I never really intended to pay the kids, to tell you the truth. I just wanted to get their attention. Well, we started keeping a chart on it. The kids started to focus more on defense, and we started playing better."

After starting the season 3-10, Denison won 12 of its last 17 games, including all five games in the second half of district play. Carson's team advanced to the playoffs, losing to Richardson Pearce 63-60 in the bi-district playoffs.

Carson appeared before the Denison school board on March 5 and presented a letter of resignation, which was immediately accepted. He will teach a physical education class until the end of the school year.

The District 11-4A executive committee -- made up of athletics directors, superintendents or principals from Texas high schools Denison, Greenville, McKinney North, Paris, Sherman and Sulphur Springs -- asked Carson to appear before it on Wednesday morning.

"I don't know what the outcome will be. Probably a public reprimand," he said. "I'm not going to try to fight anything on this. I did the crime; I need to do the time."

Carson, 56, has not applied for another coaching job, but is putting a resumé together. He has coached two other high school programs and has a career record of 363-248.