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Coach Cartmell remembered for influence on area youth
Oct 25, 2012 12:00 am
By ANDY REED
Carroll-Oakland boys' basketball coach Billy Cartmell died early last Saturday morning following a battle with cancer.
Though he had only coached the Eagles for two seasons, Mr. Cartmell, 64, was well-known in the Lebanon basketball community heading up the Tennessee Trojans AAU organization and coaching the game at all youth levels.
And it wasn't just his teams. He also served as recreation director for the Wilson County Civic League. Many of Wilson County's top high school players over the last few decades received their early lessons in the sport from Mr. Cartmell in the old Market Street School gym.
One of his middle school competitors saw him as a mentor.
"I played on the first AAU team he coached," said Watertown Elementary coach Brian Gaines. "I was at church Sunday and one of the ladies spoke announcing his passing. She said, 'Billy Cartmell coached basketball in the Lebanon area for years. But he taught more men than he coached'.
"I got a couple of people in my life outside my parents who made a difference to me - [former Lebanon High coach] Hester Gibbs, [Babe Ruth League baseball coach] Ray Dill and Billy Cartmell."
Gaines said whenever he and Mr. Cartmell would talk about life, he would find a way to equate it to basketball.
"He said you can tell how a person is going to be in life by watching him play basketball," Gaines said, noting point guards who think pass first will think about others before themselves while power forwards who concentrate on rebounding and doing the little things are the ones who will pack a lunch pail every day and exhibit a strong work ethic. Those who are only played to shoot and padding their own statistics would only think about themselves in life, Gaines said.
Mr. Cartmell didn't just teach basketball in the Civic League.
"We have courtesy classes," Mr. Cartmell said in an interview with The Lebanon Democrat 10 years ago. "Everything is 'thank you', 'yes, ma'am', no ma'am'. We don't let kids call adults by their first names... No profanity, whatsoever."
Mr. Cartmell graduated from the old Wilson County High School, whose mascot was the Trojans, in 1966. He began coaching basketball in Europe while serving in the U.S. Air Force.
"I love teaching the game," Mr. Cartmell said a decade ago. "Coaching is simply teaching and motivating.
"You don't have to be smart to be a coach. You just have to know how to teach and know how to motivate and really be dedicated."
"I loved him to death," Gaines said. "I'm going to miss him. He's a great person. I really, really thought a lot of him."
For more on Mr. Cartmell, see Obituaries on Page 3.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at email@example.com