The guest of honor, however, did not have a inkling of what was to come.
Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, will forever be known as Bill Carter Day in the state of Oklahoma.
Carter found out around 9 p.m., when Marlow head football coach Jeremy Gage led Carter to midfield.
“I knew something was going on,” Carter said. “Coach Gage had asked me to stay out on the field because there was some kind of presentation. I was simply waiting to see who was being honored.”
Little did he know, it was he who was receiving the honor.
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins was on hand to present the 87-year-old with a gubernatorial proclamation.
“I was more than surprised,” Carter said.
After 29 years in Marlow, many in this community recognize Carter as a Marlowite.
However, it was a small twist of fate that brought him back to this town on May 30, 1982.
While he lived here a short time in his late teen years, he received a smile from a young lady named Evelyn while working at a downtown grocery store.
They married in 1942, shortly before he served his country in World War II.
An outstanding athlete in high school, he returned from the war effort to play football at Abilene Christian College.
“I knew I wanted to be a coach,” Carter said. “I knew that when I was in school.”
Carter coached football and track throughout Texas, and he was part of the powerhouse program in Wichita Falls.
“A lot of people tie me back to track,” Carter said. “When I was hired at a school, I was hired to be a football coach, who also coached track.”
After retiring, Carter and his wife returned to Marlow, and he met with Darvis Cole, who was the head coach of the Outlaws football program.
“I remember asking him about volunteering,” Carter recalled. “He said yes. It wasn’t an excited yes, but we soon found that we had the same ideas, and I think he was happy to have me.”
Cole was there to congratulate Carter Friday night.
Carter was also met by his son and grandchildren on the field, though it was no easy task.
“One of my grandsons had to catch a flight from Odessa to DFW (Airport),” Carter said. “My son had to meet him at the airport, and so they actually had to listen to a cell phone to what they were saying in the stadium.”
They arrived at the closing of halftime, Carter noted.
Carter continues to volunteer his coaching knowledge to the football and track athletes of Marlow.
Despite his small, aging frame, he is an expert for the larger boys that play in the middle of the defensive line. He can also throw a discus farther than anyone his age.
The proof is in the fact that he consistently sets world records for his age group each year at the U.S. Track and Field Senior Games.
“I’m looking forward to the next one,” he said earlier this week.
It’s hard to imagine that someone in Marlow hasn’t crossed paths with Carter. If you have been in the school system in the past 30 years, there is a good chance you’ve met him.
He has also been involved in the community, serving on the board of education, the city council and the chamber of commerce. He still shows up every week at the Lions Club meetings, and teaches Sunday school.
It almost goes without stating that the Marlow Samaritans has been his passion, serving as the group’s president and overseeing the operation of the Christmas food basket distribution annually.
“I couldn’t imagine myself in any other place,” Carter said of Marlow. “It’s just a great place to be.”
His honor was made more special last Friday with an Outlaw win, 27-0, over Lone Grove.
“It’s just unbelievable that this has happened to me,” Carter said of the proclamation. “I am amazed that people would make such a big deal. It was the biggest honor I have had in a long time.”