How do you measure greatness?
Answers are often too finite because so many factors are relevant in each decision. The career of Carlos Sample provides yet another example.
Is Carlos Sample a Hall of Fame coach? Yes.
Did he have arguably the best 16-year stretch for a boys basketball coach in Louisiana’s highest classification? Yes.
If you put together two Mount Rushmores, one for boys basketball coaches in Baton Rouge and another for boys basketball coaches in Louisiana, where would Sample be?
Ask five people for their opinions and you might get five different answers. I say he belongs on both.
Sample’s decision to step down as Scotlandville’s coach after 16 seasons caught people off guard Friday. It has already sparked a bit of debate from a few folks who reached out on social media.
Is Carlos Sample at the head of the class when it comes to Baton Rouge’s illustrious group of boys basketball coaches? My answer is yes.
Quite frankly, nobody did it better than he did in Class 5A/Division I. The 54-year-old Sample won 85% of his games, won eight LHSAA titles and had six runner-up finishes that span an unprecedented 14 straight title-game appearances.
No, the select/nonselect situation does not lessen what Sample achieved. Scotlandville had no choice in its placement. The Hornets always played tough schedules that included some national tournaments.
Here is where it gets tricky. Sample won 482 games at Scotlandville and 676 in 26 seasons. His overall winning percentage is 77% when you add in Sample’s nine-year stint at his alma mater, Istrouma, and one season at Livonia.
Others have more career wins. One coach has more wins and titles. The late Joel Hawkins of Southern Lab won 1,071 games and 11 titles in 13 seasons on the Class 1A level.
My Baton Rouge Mount Rushmore is Hawkins, Sample and Kenny Almond (932 wins, three titles), best known for his stint at Woodlawn, and Glen Oaks coach Harvey Adger (920 wins, four titles).