Experienced competitors develop young counterparts in new venture
As much as Carter Clements enjoyed competing in soccer, tennis, or track as a teenager in Virginia, he had the heart of a coach.
That never changed when he came to SMU six years ago, even as Clements graduated with a business degree and started a corporate career.
“It got to the point where it seemed like I was working just so I could go home and play sports at night,” Clements said. “My heart wasn’t really in it. I wanted to pursue coaching full-time.”
So, in June, Clements quit his job with an investment firm and launched Park Cities Coaching, which aims to provide customized lessons for young athletes in up to 10 different sports.
The hook is that Clements contracts primarily with high school or college athletes, or recent graduates, as potential mentors who can encourage youngsters to follow in their footsteps.
They want to make an impact in the community.Carter Clements
“They want to make an impact in the community. For the kids, it’s a lesson from a captain on a varsity team,” Clements said. “This varsity athlete is telling me what he went through to get to where he is. Five or 10 years down the road, I can be like him.”
The idea continues an entrepreneurial venture Clements started almost a decade ago in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia when he starred in multiple sports and was asked by some parents if he was interested in coaching.
Even after moving to Dallas, he continued to organize clinics in Virginia for a couple of years until he no longer had the time. He founded the new company with his fiancée, Madi Wray, a Park Cities native who graduated from Ursuline.
“When I first started, the goal was to get one person to sign up. From there, it just grew,” Clements said. “It’s been such a blessing.”
The feedback has been positive thus far, Clements said. After coaching two small-group lessons in the first week, now he handles dozens, with word-of-mouth enabling him to expand to Preston Hollow and other neighborhoods.
“My husband and I were struggling to find golf lessons at a price point that made sense,” said Park Cities resident Haley Allen. “Our kindergartener has gone from the desire to play golf but with zero knowledge of the sport to swinging impressive golf shots within a matter of weeks.”
The company already has signed up coaches from SMU, Highland Park, Ursuline, Hockaday, St. Mark’s, Parish Episcopal, and more. The roster continues to grow.
“Working with kids and sports is the most fun thing I do with my life,” said Jeff Bolte, a recent SMU graduate who coaches basketball. “It’s a blast to see them light up when they do something right. The best feeling in the world is seeing that smile come back at you.”