Kenny Carter, an assistant for the last three years under legendary coach Joe Paterno at Penn State, has been hired as an offensive assistant at Vanderbilt, Commodore Head coach Bobby Johnson said Thursday. Carter, 36, will mentor Vanderbilt running backs, replacing Charlie Fisher, who will move to coach Commodore wide receivers, Johnson said.
Carter is expected to report to work early next week as Vanderbilt players return to classes. “I’m very pleased to announce that Kenny is joining our coaching staff,” Johnson said. “He brings outstanding character to the job, and a wealth of knowledge and experience, having successfully coached for a number of excellent football programs. We are fortunate to add Kenny to the Vanderbilt staff.”
Carter, who has also served on coaching staffs at the University of Pittsburgh, Louisiana State and The Citadel in addition to his tenure at Penn State, has ties to several members of the Commodore staff. He was an assistant at Furman in 1993 when Johnson accepted the Paladins’ head coaching job.
“My family and I are extremely excited about the opportunity to come to Vanderbilt. I have a close relationship with coaches on the staff and know the reputations of others. I also have the utmost respect for Coach Johnson, believe in the things Vanderbilt stands for, and believe in the way Vanderbilt does things. I think it will be a great fit,” Carter said.
Carter guided wide receivers for the Nittany Lions under Paterno. He was instrumental in the development of Bryant Johnson, a first-team All-Big Ten pick in 2002 and first-round 2003 NFL draft choice of the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson ranks second all-time at Penn State with 2,008 career receiving yards and is fourth with 110 career receptions.
“It has been a great honor to serve with Coach Paterno. Without question, our time at Penn State has been extremely rewarding. Words simply cannot explain how wonderful it has been to be a part of Coach Paterno’s staff,” Carter said.
Prior to joining Paterno at Penn State, Carter served one year as running backs coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He mentored tailback Kevan Barlow to the first 1,000-yard rushing season at Pittsburgh in six years. Barlow ended this season as a starter in the San Franciso 49ers offensive backfield. Carter worked in the Southeastern Conference in 1999, coaching outside linebackers at LSU. One of his pupils, Norman Lejeune, earned freshman All-SEC honors.
The native of Camden, S.C., served as a tight ends assistant at Furman in 1993, three years after graduating from the Citadel in Charleston. He later coached four years, from 1994-97, at his alma mater instructing both defensive ends and running backs. Carter is married to the former Bonnie Bridges. They are the parents of two children: Brey, 16; and Kennedy, 7.