University of New Mexico students gathered in the Student Union Building Tuesday to hear motivational speaker coach Ken Carter.

Carter is known across the nation as the man who locked his Richmond High School Oilers basketball team out of the gym and discontinued their season when they were not performing well academically in 1999. Paramount Pictures made the film “Coach Carter” in 2005, after Carter made headlines for his actions.

Tuesday, Carter shared what he thinks are the secrets that lead to a successful life.

One of these secrets is overcoming “winter.”

He describes “winter” as events that can be as small as getting your heart broken in the fifth grade by a girl who doesn’t like you back, to going all the way to the championship game, undefeated, and then risk losing it all.

“Springtime has always followed winter,” he said. “Isn’t that the perfect place to put springtime? Isn’t God a genius? Right after you’ve had this harsh thing in your life, springtime shows up.”

Another of his secrets to leading a successful life is not complaining; just going out and getting things done to “always do more than what you’re paid for as an investment in your future.”

“You have to come in early and stay late,” he said. “You have to be ready, you have to be on the gas. Now you’re saying, ‘Coach, if I’m on the gas all the time; I’m going to hit something.’ Yes, but if you’re on the break, you’re not going anywhere.”

Carter also recommended “resetting your preset” when things are not going the way you would like them to go.

“It’s not about where you start in life; it’s about where you finish. That’s the greatest thing about life,” he said.

“The universe will bring anything you want in your life if you want it bad enough and you have the skills for it. The world gives you what you deserve, not what you need,” Carter said.

He also suggested it was important to be a decision maker and see things through, being sure not to make any excuses along the way.

Carter said he doesn’t like to think of himself as a motivational speaker, but an inspirational one.

“I can’t push you from the back. That’s motivating. But when you’re inspired, you get up early and you lead from the front. This world needs leaders,” he said.

James Lassa, a senior college of arts and science major at UNM, said he attended the event, because “Coach Carter is one of my favorite movies, and it seemed like a great opportunity to hear someone who is so successful talk about how they’ve helped others out, how they’ve helped themself and hear one of my childhood idols speak directly to me.”

Dominic Colosimo, speakers director for ASUNM Student Special Events and senior communications major at UNM, reached out to Carter and found that the dates aligned perfectly for him to speak during midterms week.

“Around midterms, people need a little motivation, a little more inspiration to get through them,” Colosimo said.

Kelly Urvanejo is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @Kelly_Urvanejo.