From Coach Carr's biography on the Official Idaho Athletics Website: "It is important to me that all of my coaches be great teachers," Akey said, "and that is exactly what he is. He was a teacher when he was the head coach of Garfield High School before he got into four-year ball. That led to him getting a job at Montana, and they had great success the whole time that he was there." To be a great teacher, one has to know his students. In football that means recruits, and according to Akey, Carr is one of the best at recruiting.
Both roles are perfectly suited to Coach Carr's impressive background and charismatic style.
During the 80s and 90s, when Idaho ruled the Big Sky Conference and spent two decades among the top teams in 1AA, Luther Carr lined up annually against the Vandals. Many of you may remember Carr when he was a wide receiver for the Eastern Washington Eagles (1989 – 1993). He earned four letters while playing for the Eagles, and in 1992 his team tied the University of Idaho for the Big Sky Championship, finishing the season with a 7-4 record (6-1 Big Sky). That season they recorded wins over Montana and Boise State (co-Champ Idaho won their 1992 head-to-head matchup with the Eagles 38-21), and made an appearance in the 1AA playoffs.
He knows the position as a player, and he has been honing his coaching skills since his days on the gridiron.
Carr comes to Idaho from the University of Montana where he was an assistant coach for four years. Last season (2006) he coached runningbacks, and three years prior to that (2003-2005) he coached wide receivers for the Grizzlies. Prior to his stint at Montana, Carr began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Washington where he was a graduate assistant for the Dawgs. It was at UW where he first worked with current Idaho first-year offensive coordinator Steve Axman (the two also worked together at Montana prior to coming to Idaho).
Before jumping into the collegiate coaching ranks, Carr began his career as a football and track coach at Lewis and Clark High School (Spokane, WA) after graduating with a degree in Education from Eastern Washington in 1993. He spent two years at LC then left Spokane for a chance to coach at his high school alma mater, Garfield High School in Seattle. At Garfield he sent numerous athletes to Division 1A programs.
In the interview below we talk with Coach Carr to learn more about Idaho's offensive attack this fall, and a little more about the role his receivers will play in the system.
PH: Coach Carr, from all of us at GoVandals.net, welcome to the University of Idaho. How has your first six months been on the job?
LC: When I first got to Idaho, in the first couple of months – January through the end of Spring Ball [April] – everything was rush-rush-rush-rush-rush. So I didn't necessarily get a chance to enjoy anything about Moscow. The day that I got to the University of Idaho, which I believe was January 10th, the next day I was on a flight recruiting in Seattle and San Diego. Because we were hired late, we had to rush. And then as soon as recruiting was over, we spent a lot of time on the offensive side of the ball getting our playbook organized. As soon as we got the playbook organized, we were into spring practice. As soon as spring practice ended, which was on a Friday – that Monday I was out recruiting. And as soon as spring recruiting ended, we had football camp. So, my first couple of months at Idaho was rush-rush-rush-rush-rush. Now, this is the first week that I've had an opportunity to sit back and relax and enjoy Moscow for what it is.
PH: How did the football camp go?
LC: I think football camp went well. I think the football coaches and teams that participated were excited about the experience, and I think they will come back next year. And we're looking to increase the size of the camp, taking our numbers up into the thousands. We want a big camp; we want the best camp in the northwest [about 600 football players participated this year].
PH: Can you give our readers an idea about the kind of offensive attack that Idaho will put on the field this fall. What role will the receivers play in the offensive attack, and a general idea of what to expect this season?
Coach Luther Carr|
Spring Camp, 2007
PH: You've had about six months to get to know the receivers on this team. What in your opinion was the unit's biggest issue last season, and what needed to be addressed the most?
LC: When I was hired and I was speaking to the coaches that were here from last year – Johnny Nansen, Jonathan Smith, and Director of Operations Jason Hines - and just hearing people in the community in general, there was a lack of speed. So, we have to be able to come up with an answer for that, and we think we have. We recruited three fast freshmen [wide receivers] that will be here this fall, that will help us with our speed this year. If we're not going to be the fastest team 40-wise, we have to "play" the fastest. Playing fast is just as good as being fast. There is always that kid who is real fast, but because he doesn't know the plays, it forces him to play slow. Or because he is scared, it forces him to play slow. So, receivers for me – I've got to get those guys to know the plays, and give those guys tremendous confidence so that they can play fast.
PH: Based on that, how are the receivers developing?
Strength & Conditioning Head Coach
PH: How well did you know new Idaho head coach Robb Akey before you came to the University of Idaho?
LC: When I was a head coach over in Seattle [at Garfield] he actually recruited a few my players. And I had met him off-and-on over the years.
PH: One last question. You left a very good 1AA situation in Montana, and you're coming to help rebuild a program in Idaho that was very strong for two decades [a period that included a Big West Championship in 1998 as a 1A program and victory over Southern Miss in the Humanitarian Bowl]. What brought you to Idaho? What enticed you to come to Moscow?
LC: Opportunity. I felt that I needed my learning curve to continue to grow. My goal is to become a head coach one day. In that, I felt that I needed to learn as much as possible, from as many people as possible, and be in as many experiences as possible. Idaho provided with an opportunity with a new experience. I'm coaching new receivers, I'm coaching in a new conference, and I'm coaching with a new staff. I have an added recruiting area, something I didn't have before. The WAC conference is an excellent conference, so I get to learn from the teams that we play against. It was the opportunity to do all those things that brought me over here to the University of Idaho.
PH: Well, that's it coach. Thank you very much for your time today.