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A conversation with Summerfield boys and girls basketball head coach Randy Carlisle feels more like a life lesson.

The coach who pulls double-duty in the piney woods of Summerfield took home state titles with both the boys (22-7) and girls (30-1) this season. The grueling schedule hasn’t been easy on Carlisle, who admits he’s ready for things to slow down.

Jenni Williams/Guardian-Journal
Jenni Williams/Guardian-Journal

“It’s been pretty tough,” Carlisle said. “The biggest thing was in between practices. Ours are very intense, and when you go from one practice to the other one, it’s more than just rolling a ball out there. We try to teach so much and it’s pretty tiring for somebody my age.”

Talking life and basketball, the words roll off his tongue like he’s said them a thousand times, but the conviction in his tone is unquestionably sincere. He talks about five players playing as one, out-working the opponent for 32 minutes and having a willingness to make your teammates better than yourself. But limiting this man to basketball would be unfair.

He’s the son of a Minden High School legend, a man of great character and faith, father of fellow champions and an elite trainer whose services are coveted by athletes near and far.

Carlisle played at Minden High from 1972-’75, leading Minden to the state semi-finals in 1975 under the direction of his father and Minden basketball legend, Clyde “Buster” Carlisle.

During that time, Randy gained a reputation as a gifted passer and would go on to set a national record for assists with 1,592.

“Back then, they would take like eight busloads of students to our games,” Carlisle said. “It was crazy. You could hardly even get into our games the atmosphere was so good. That was right after Minden merged with Webster. Those years at Minden were special.”

After his playing days were over, Carlisle wasn’t sure what life had in store, but knew what he didn’t want, or so he thought.

“I never wanted to coach,” Carlisle said. “My dad was tough on me in high school. When I actually did start coaching, he was even tougher on me. He used to say if the only thing I taught my players was basketball, I was a failure.”

Those words never left Randy’s mind.

“When there’s no more basketball, what are your players going to do then?” Carlisle said. “I have a lot of sayings. I tell my players all the time that words are powerful. What you speak is going to come to pass. I try to instill that in these kids. What comes out of your mouth is two things, life or death. Around here, we want to speak life.”

Carlisle’s desire for humility and selflessness on and off the court stems from his strong faith.

“My strength is straight from God,” Carlisle said. “The world is selfish. It’s all about yourself these days and not your fellow man. I try to instill these things in my young men and women because I care about them way more than just being basketball players. I want them to be good in life.”
The results speak for themselves. Summerfield is back to being a basketball power and Carlisle’s training program, Ultimate Seven, has caught the attention of athletes across the state and surrounding area.

Carlisle says the program focuses on building the core muscles and is designed to improve strength while maintaining flexibility and coordination.

“I’m working out a kid right now who’s going to LSU,” Carlisles said. “Beach volleyball people have come in, professional baseball players from Lake Charles are coming in a couple of weeks. We’re waiting til everything slows down, but we’re turning our facility into a team campsite at the old Athens High School.”

Carlisle said the new facility will come complete with brand new amenities such as dorms, swimming pool, infrared lighting and oxygen chambers, just to name a few.

Above all, Randy Carlisle is a family man. When asked about his own titles he gives all the right answers with little exuberance. Ask about his father or his children’s and he lights up.

His son, Randall, won state titles for calf-roping, all-around cowboy and basketball at Lipan High School in Texas, daughter Bethany won a basketball title for Lake Country Christian School in Fort Worth and Buster finished his career with two titles.

That’s 11 championships in the family, eight in basketball.

In the state title game for Carlisle’s Summerfield boys, 22 of the Rebels 26 made field goals came via assist.

“That’s what was so beautiful,” Carlisle said. “That’s the same way to carry it through life. If there’s someone you can help, reach out and try to help them.”

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