Lawson State's Carlton Rice has been named the Alabama Community College Conference's 2018-19 Athletic Director of the Year.
Rice, the youngest athletic director in the ACCC, attributes his work ethic to his raising.
"My parents always encouraged and supported my brother and I. They were always challenging us and pushing us. Dad would work on our athletic skills in the yard, and mom would drill us with flash cards. We weren't allowed to play outside before she had proofread every homework assignment we had," said Rice.
"The training instilled in me at that time motivated me to be a competitor and never settle for mediocrity."
Rice came to Lawson State in 2013 as a health and physical education instructor. Then in the fall of 2015, Rice moved into the position of athletic director. He still teaches and for the past two seasons has served as the men's and women's cross-country team.
"My approach to athletics is one of teamwork/collaboration and commitment. At Lawson State, we are very fortunate to have a president and administration that is supportive of athletics. I'm also blessed to have some committed faculty and staff members that believe in what we are doing and have bought in to help build a dominate and winning environment. The family culture here at Lawson State is what I believe sets me apart. They have my back, and I have theirs," said Rice.
Rice manages a staff of 14 employees and over 130 student-athletes. Lawson State offers six athletic programs – men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross-country, volleyball and baseball. They also offer cheerleading and dance.
"I enjoy interacting with the student-athletes on a daily basis. I enjoy observing them withstand the demands of balancing the life of being a successful student-athlete. My favorite part of the job is witnessing our student-athletes transfer or gradate and move on to a four-year university or begin their careers. I also get joy in having our former athletes come back to visit."
Rice graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 2006 from Mississippi State University. He earned his Master of Science degree in physical education in 2009 from Alabama A&M University.
In his spare time, Carlton enjoys working out, running, swimming, cooking out, eating out, spending time with family and friends, travelling and attending college and professional sporting events. He is a member of Mt. Canaan Full Gospel Church, where he serves as a leader of the singles ministry, pastor's advisory board and the usher board. He Is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. On campus, Rice serves on the president's extended cabinet and on the SACS accreditation committee.
"I hope and pray that I am leaving a legacy of servant leadership and dedication. Hopefully, my unselfish and transparent drive allows everyone that I come in contact with to feel comfortable, supported and strengthened to follow their dreams and never give up no matter what," said Rice.
"Carlton is a very driven individual who works extremely hard," stated ACCC Commissioner Dean Myrick. "The Lawson State coaches love working with Carlton, and the student-athletes respect him. I enjoy working with him and his future is very bright."
"I would like to thank the committee for voting for me. It's truly an honor to receive this award. I also want to extend a special thanks to President Dr. Perry W. Ward for trusting in me to oversee the athletic department."