When former Dalton High School football coach Bill Chappell learned one of his former players had died Saturday, he was shocked. His second reaction was sadness, not just because of Loran Carter’s athletic legacy but also his outstanding character.
“Loran was special to me,” Chappell said of his former quarterback who was a senior on the 1963 Catamounts football team. “It’s just a shock. ... Sometimes you don’t have the words.”
Carter, a Dalton resident and 1964 graduate from Dalton High School, died suddenly Saturday morning at the age of 67. Attempts to reach his family were unsuccesful, and the cause of death is not known.
A couple of friends who knew Carter recall him being in good health not long ago.
“I was just with him Thursday,” Chappell said, “and he seemed as fine as he’s always been.”
Chappell, who led Dalton to a Class 2A state championship in 1967 and finished 317-74-9 through 33 seasons leading the Catamounts, was a running backs coach — Alf Anderson was head coach — when Carter played quarterback at Dalton. In his four years playing for the Catamounts, the team finished 31-9-1 including a 9-2 record in his senior year.
After graduating high school, Carter played quarterback at Auburn University and earned all-SEC honors as a senior in 1968. He threw 14 touchdowns and passed for 1,487 yards, according to www.sports-reference.com. After graduating from Auburn in 1969, he joined Dalton’s coach staff under Chappell.
Yet friends stress Carter’s athletic abilities didn’t tell the whole story of who he was.
“Loran was a great athlete, a good basketball and baseball player,” Chappell said. “He was all-state and received all kinds of honors. He was a tremendous athlete. Better than that, he was a fine person.
“He was a real Christian and did a lot of work in that area.”
Another friend, Stephen Gregg, built a bond through ties as fellow Auburn alumni.
“He was involved in the community and one of the nicest gentlemen you’d ever want to meet,” said Gregg, who does radio play-by-play announcing for Northwest Whitfield High School football games. “He loved to talk Auburn football.”
Chappell said Carter ended his coaching career in the 1970s and started working as a salesman in the local carpet industry.
“He’s in the top-10 of athletes to come through Dalton High, for sure,” Chappell said.
Carter is survived by his wife of 37 years, Patsy Carter, and children David and Denise Duke, Kerry and Shane Adams, Rebekah Carter and Joshua Carter. He also has four grandchildren — Jackson Adams, Parker Adams, Tyler Adams and Zeb Duke.
Services will be Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Love Funeral Home chapel. Burial will be at West Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Love Funeral Home Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to WTTI Christian Broadcasting, P.O. Box 216, Dalton, GA 30722-0216. Words of comfort may be sent to the family at lovefuneralhomega.com.