Credited with overseeing Arizona’s throwers, Craig Carter begins his eighth season as a member of the Arizona staff. Since arriving in Tucson for the 2006-07 season, he has changed the face of collegiate throwing on the national and conference scene.
For the 2013 indoor season, Carter led Julie Labonté to her fourth-straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championships title in the shot put and she went on to earn a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Her teammate Alyssa Hasslen took second place at the MPSF Championships and fourth place at the NCAA Championships. Baillie Gibson finished in fifth place at the MPSF Championships, Omotayo Talabi took sixth place and Taylor Freeman finished in eighth place.
Outdoors, Labonté set the No. 4 mark in UA history in the discus with a toss of 186-4 at the Pac-12 Championships. That toss was good for a runner-up finish. She also earned her third-straight conference championship in the shot put. She finished in second place in the discus at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and she took fifth place in the shot put. Labonté is the first Wildcat to earn first-team All-America honors in both the women's shot put and discus since Carla Garrett in 1989. Labonté won the Canadian Championship in the shot put and discus and qualified for the World Championships in the shot put. She did not end up competing due to fatigue from the length of the collegiate season.
Hasslen earned a runner-up finish at the Pac-12 Championships in the shot put and she took sixth place in the discus. She is only the Wildcat to ever earn all-conference honors in both events all four years of her outdoor career. Hasslen qualified for the NCAA Championships in both events. She earned second-team NCAA All-America honors in the discus with a 13th-place finish. She competed at the USA Outdoor Championships and took third place, automatically earning a spot on Team USA for the World Championships. She competed in the preliminary round but failed to advance to the final.
As a redshirt sophomore, Gibson earned all-conference honors in the shot put, discus and hammer for the second-straight year. Her toss of 208-11 in the hammer is the No. 2 throw in school history was good for fifth place at the Pac-12 Championships. She took third place in the discus at the Pac-12 Championships with a toss of 180-6 and fourth place in the shot put. At the NCAA Championships, Gibson finished in 16th place in the discus, the only event she competed in.
Omotayo Talabi set the seventh-best throw in UA history at the Stanford Invitational. She threw 52-2.25 (16.21m) and set a personal best. She earned All-Pac-12 honors in the shot put and competed at the NCAA West Preliminaries.
In 2012, Carter guided Julie Labonté to All-America status at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She took third place with a toss of 58-2.5 in the women’s shot put. Labonté also won her third-straight Mountain Sports Pacific (MPSF) Championship. Labonté redshirted the outdoor season in order to prepare for the 2012 Olympics. Labonté won gold medals in the shot put and the discus at the Canadian Olympic Trials, punching her ticket to London. (She would only compete in the shot put at the Olympics; she did not meet the Olympic “A” Standard in the discus.) Labonté was the first track and field athlete in Arizona history to represent Canada in the Olympics. In the preliminary round of the Olympics, Labonté took 23rd place with a toss of 57-4.25.
Carter also coached Baillie Gibson and Alyssa Hasslen at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Gibson finished in 12th place in the discus and ninth place in the shot put. Hasslen earned a sixth-place finish in the women’s shot put. Hasslen set the second-best mark in the country during the 2012 collegiate season, posting a personal-best mark of 60-2.5. Hasslen’s toss ranks as the second-best mark in Arizona history and the 14th-best throw in collegiate history.
Carter led Tyler Johnson to All-American status during the 2012 season. Johnson took eighth place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, becoming the first Wildcat to earn All-America accolades in the men’s hammer throw since 1997. Johnson’s personal-best toss of 213-5 is the third-best mark in Arizona history. Johnson also earned All-Pac-12 honors, taking fourth place at the Pac-12 Championships.
Carter was named the 2011 U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) National and West Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year. Carter’s throwers dominated the scene in 2011. Julie Labonté swept the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles in the shot put while setting Canadian National Records in both throwing events. She also swept the conference titles in the shot put at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Indoor Championships and the Pac-10 Outdoor Championships. Labonté set a new school record in the indoor shot put with her toss of 57-9 at the MPSF Indoor Championships.
At the 2011 Pac-10 Outdoor Championships, Carter’s female throwers went 1-2-3-5-6 in the shot put, 2-3-4-6 in the discus and 5-6 in the hammer. Freshman Baillie Gibson scored valuable points in all three throwing events. She went on to earn All-America honors outdoors in the discus and shot put to go along with indoor All-American accolades in the shot put.
On the men’s side, in 2011, UA throwers earned two All-America certificates and seven All-Pac-10 honors. At the 2011 Pac-10 Outdoor Champions, the men finished 2-3-6 in the shot put, with Bozidar Antunovic’s runner-up finish and throw of 59-7.5 and 4-6-7 in the discus. Antunovic also won the MPSF Indoor Championship in the shot put with his throw of 58-5.25.
Carter also coached Jill Camarena-Williams, who broke her own American indoor record with a mark of 65-3.75 in 2012. She took fourth place at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, posting a mark of 63-9.5. Outdoors, Camarena-Williams posted the sixth-best mark in the world, throwing 65-0.5 at the Tucson Elite Classic. She took home the gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Trials, punching her ticket to London for her second-straight Olympiad. Camarena-Williams threw 59-9.5 in the preliminary round of the shot put competition. She suffered a back injury before the Olympics and was nearly unable to compete. At the 2011 World Championships, Camarena-Williams made history as the first American woman to ever medal in the shot put at the World Championships. She marked a throw of 65-8.25 on her fourth attempt and recorded her second-best performance ever, only behind her throw that tied the American record earlier in the summer.
Carter started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Utah State before leaving to teach and coach at the high school level. He returned to UtahState two years later to be the head throwing coach. During that time, he coached several NCAA indoor and outdoor qualifiers, 25 Big West Champions, 53 All-Big West performers and was part of five men's conference championships and seven women's conference championships. Under his direction at UtahState, Olympian James Parker was an eight-time All-American in the hammer and weight throws and an All-American in the discus throw.
An accomplished competitor in his own right, Carter was a two-time NCAA All-American in the weight and hammer throws while competing for UtahState. He was also voted Big West Athlete of the Year and was an 11-time All-Big West performer. Carter was a recipient of the Utah State University Outstanding Athlete Robins Award. Carter was given the coveted Wayne Estes Award - the most prestigious award ever given by UtahStateUniversity - to a student/athlete exemplifying all-around excellence.
Upon graduation, Carter continued competing and qualified for the USA Championships for six-straight years (1992-1997). His highest finish was seventh in the hammer throw at the 1996 Olympic Trials before retiring and focusing on coaching.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from UtahStateUniversity. Carter is married to Jo-Anne Bouwhuis and they have four children: Cameron, twins Mark and Makenzie and Ragan.