Brainerd promotes assistant Martels Carter to head football coach

Staff file photo by Matt Hamilton / Brainerd's football program will have its third head coach in as many seasons this year, with assistant Martels Carter promoted to replace Stanley Jackson, who recently resigned after one year on the job after taking over from Tyrus Ward.

Brainerd High School has named Martels Carter its head football coach.

Carter has worked as an assistant for the Panthers for several seasons, including as the team's defensive coordinator last year.

"It was really a no-brainer," Brainerd athletic director Levar Brown said. "He's been either coaching or around our program for a while, had kids who went to school here and lives in the community, so he knows the players and the program.

"It was time to give him a chance to take over and run it. He brings a lot of energy, and that's what we needed. You can already see that the kids are excited to have him in charge, so hopefully that will translate over onto the field."

Carter, a 1995 Howard graduate, takes over for Stanley Jackson, who stepped down recently after just one season in his second stint leading the Panthers. Jackson had agreed to run the program for one year after the position came open late last spring when Tyrus Ward resigned.

photo Contributed photo / Martels Carter has been named head football coach at Brainerd High School after working as an assistant for the Panthers for several seasons, including as defensive coordinator last year.

Carter said he has already begun to oversee offseason workouts and is anxious to help get the program back on track. He was an assistant on the 2020 Panthers team that went 8-5 and reached the second round of the Class 3A playoffs. Brainerd finished 3-7 last season.

"This administration is doing some wonderful things at Brainerd as far as supporting the right things for the kids, so I felt like it was the right situation for me to come in to," Carter said. "We've already got 30 in the weight room right now, which is up from last year, and the kids are buying in.

"We're there every day to show them that we care, that we're going to love on them, be there for them and check on their academics and make sure they're doing all the right things.

"I think a big key is being familiar with the kids and the program. We know who they are, we know the community and the school and the type work that needs to be put in. We're going to put a product on the field that everybody can be excited about."

Contact Stephen Hargis at or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.