Pete Carpino joined the faculty at Grain Valley High School in the Fall of 2015. Head football coach David Allie was part of the recruitment effort that influenced Carpino’s decision to join the district. The two best friends have shared many milestones together since agreeing to become Eagles, including back to back football district championships in 2019 and 2020.
Carpino is no doubt proud of the accomplishments attained during his educational career. The physical education teacher values relationships above all else though. That is apparent to anyone who has ever watched Carpino teach, coach, or enjoy time around his co-workers. It was also part of the overwhelming sentiment shared by students and community members when compiling feedback for this story. Their words explain the legacy of Carpino’s influence.
“I voted for Coach Carpino to speak at our commencement because it seemed fitting. He had coached a lot of us and was fun guy to look up to. That along with the fact that he was leaving the high school the same time we were,” Parker Bosserman said.
Cole Keller contributed, “We chose Coach Carpino to speak at graduation because he has had such a great impact on a lot of us. He is interested in what is best for us and keeps it real with us. Since he is retiring, it is only right he gives a goodbye speech.”
Jordyn Weems added, “Ever since we were freshmen, Coach Carpino said he was going to graduate with us – and he did!”
Riley Bown continued the adoration with, “Having Coach Carpino speak at the Class of 2021’s graduation is special because of how much he is involved with our school. He is a varsity assistant football coach and a girls varsity assistant basketball coach. Both of those programs have had a big impact on our school over the last couple of years. He is also someone that a lot of people know around our high school and this community.”
Hunter Newsom concluded, “We selected the right person for the job in choosing Coach Carpino to speak at graduation. He has been with us these past four years and made an impact on many of us. Also, with him going into retirement, we felt like it had to be him speaking since he was here at the start of our journey and is now leaving us.”
Two hallmarks of Carpino are that he is prepared and honest. Even if it meant late hours watching game film with little sleep or the truth not always being what a student athlete wanted to hear. Both attributes have served Carpino well throughout his career and his time at Grain Valley High School. Something not lost on John Overstreet. The longtime Grain Valley resident has been a staple on the sideline taking pictures for the community during many of the contests that Carpino has coached in.
The following are memories Overstreet has compiled in reflecting on his time around Carpino.
“Memories of Pete Carpino…For those Eagles fans with gray whiskers, a nemesis of sort from days gone by. The orchestrator of more than one heartbreaking loss on what were once the grassy (real grass) football fields of Oak Grove and Grain Valley High Schools. A guy whose actions and abilities demanded the respect of an opposing team’s players, coaches, and even their fans. And while most of us did not know Pete Carpino back then, we all knew about Coach Carpino’s successes on the field.
What I have learned in the past several years of watching him work with our kids during brisk, late season football games, or the hardwood basketball courts of mid-February, makes me glad that Grain Valley was able to snag him for the short time we did. And yet, there is a little streak of jealousy there too, as I realize what we missed by not having him there to guide our kids for the entirety of his career. Pete likes to win, and I believe he does everything in his power to do so. But more importantly, Pete likes to see kids win, and he has the innate ability to get them to do everything in THEIR power to do so. What the kids do not always see, is that while Pete is coaching them to win at sports, he is also coaching them to win in life. That practice makes perfect, either on the court or in a career. That preparation wins games and finishes projects on time. Things they can use every day for the rest of their lives, learned from a guy who walks the sideline of a high school football game.
From the sidelines, I am blessed to see up close how coaches interact with their student athletes. Pete knows how to (and perhaps more importantly, when to) point out a player’s mistakes and how to correct them. He knows when to be stern, and when it is more important to be supportive. In a late season basketball game a few years ago, in a less than stellar season, a bench player drained a three pointer from well outside her range. As I looked across the floor at the Eagle’s bench, the first person I saw jump to his feet and cheer was Pete. The game was lost, and the season nearly over, but the smile that was on that girl’s face as she ran by him standing near the bench will forever dwell in my mind.
As the minutes ticked away in the last football game I attended, and the scoreboard left little doubt as to how the season was to end, I paid particular attention to the man who was likely coaching the sport for the last time. His attention was directed to players and other members of the coaching staff, shaking hands, wiping tears, giving out hugs. Yep, we were lucky to have him for the time we did, but you cannot help but wonder about what might have been.
Pete Carpino, the guy I respected in Oak Grove Orange, and learned to love in Eagle’s Blue. Best wishes to you, my friend. I hope you enjoyed your time here as much as we enjoyed having you.”
Carpino is looking forward to speaking at commencement at 7:00pm on May 26th at Cable Dahmer Arena. Carpino is equally as excited to spend the next chapter of his life with his wife in retirement. Thinking about what has been and what is next leaves Carpino being true to his character in being a man of few words. This time around it appears to be due to what his experience at Grain Valley High School has meant to him.
“It is a great feeling to know that so many kids nominated me to speak at graduation. I did not expect it. I am humbled to be speaking at the ceremony,” Carpino said.
“I feel very lucky to have had this position (teaching and coaching) at the high school. I will miss it. The daily conversations with my co-workers and students that led to relationships were the best.”
Congratulations to Coach Carpino for a career spent serving others. Grain Valley High School and the community of Grain Valley are thankful for your contributions. Your impact will live on and be dearly missed.