MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA 9) -- Rocky Carter is not your typical looking high school basketball coach. This ear pierced, tooth-pick chewing, bald, tattooed, 51-year-old isn't exactly the kind of guy you'd expect to find leading young men on the court, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who cares more for his team. This relationship between coach and players is founded on basic respect.
"They let me be me and I let them be them," said Carter. "They're trusting a guy who looks like me .. I've only been teaching eight years and I've failed a lot ... to trust me with those kids... are you kidding me?"
After applying for ten head coaching jobs over the last five years, the hard looking man got a shot at calling the shots at Osbourn High School.
During a 17 minute interview with WUSA 9, Carter choked up six times talking about his community and his players.
"These kids are awesome, but nobody knows ... nobody comes to see us," said Carter.
For him, it's all about his team, and that's what's made all the difference. Carter is the third Eagles coach in as many years. The team went 2-21 last year. Now, they're above .500 and well on their way to a winning season.
"All the things he's done and told us not to and all the things he's does for us ... he has my absolute most trust," said Osbourn point guard Quron White.
Part of the reason coach Carter is who he is for these players at Osbourn is because of his life experiences, and who better to know that than his family, not at school, but the one at home.
This grizzly bear melts upon sight of his five month old granddaughter. Carter's wife Terri has been with him through thick and thin. She was there to celebrate the day he graduated from college -- 22 years after getting his GED. His challenges have led him to this place, this time, these kids.
"He doesn't want anything for himself, he just wants the best for the kids," said Terri Carter. "He wants them to be the best they can be ... as a team and as individuals."
"Ira DeGrood, Manassas City gave me the chance, the opportunity ... there's no words I can express to the thanks that I owe him just for the chance," said Carter.
"He's in a good place there ... maybe they needed him as much as he needed them," said Terri Carter. "I think it's a good match."