Coach Sydney Carter

How Coach Sydney Carter Embodies Substance, Style, And Success In Sports, ‘I’ve Always Been A Leader’

Coach Sydney Carter opens up about the current state of the WNBA and how she's bringing style to the leaderskhip side of sports.

Coach Sydney Carter, retired WNBA and overseas professional basketball player, lifestyle maven, and fashion influencer, is opening up about the current state of the WNBA, her current role as the assistant coach and director of player development for the University of Texas Longhorns, and how she’s bringing style to the leadership side of sports.

The Dallas native kicked off her high-profile sports career playing guard at Texas A&M University and winning an NCAA title in 2011. This accomplishment helped Carter get drafted by the WNBA in 2012.

“When I won the national championship. It’s still something that I cannot describe,” Carter tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“It’s such a hard thing to do—one of the toughest seasons that I was ever a part of. Even pro basketball, like nothing was harder than that year. So it was just one of the best memories that I have in college.”

So much has changed since Carter competed and won an NCAA title. The national tournament saw record-breaking viewership in 2024, thanks in part to the increased popularity of star players like Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.

It’s a beautiful thing for Carter to see as someone who has always known the value of women’s sports. It was just a matter of time before the rest of the world opened its eyes.

“I mean, it’s fantastic. You’re giving women the platform now. You’re seeing so many things about the women’s game that we already knew,” Carter says about the increased interest in women’s sports.

“And it’s not just with women’s basketball. Now other sports are starting to get publicity as well. So it’s like, everybody’s like a girls girl now.”

With new eyes, increased funding, and growing fans in women’s sports, Carter is looking to the future and wants to see “how can we keep the needle moving?”

During her professional career, Carter played for the Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Indiana Fever, and Atlanta Dream. In the 2014 season, she began playing overseas in Latvia, where she achieved significant success, becoming a three-time Latvian/Estonian Champion in 2014, 2016, and 2017 and an Eastern European League champion in 2016. Carter also briefly played in Israel during her seven years overseas before retiring from the WNBA in 2018.

After retiring, Carter embarked on leadership positions in women’s basketball. She had a full-circle moment going from winning the NCAA tournament for Texas A&M to serving as the former assistant coach at her alma mater. Now, she works as the assistant coach and director of player development at the University of Texas, where she focuses on fostering and sustaining a positive impact for student-athletes while shifting the norms in the workforce on behalf of women in sports leadership roles.

“For me to be back here after I’ve played at a completely different school in Texas, a rival school in Texas, and then had a pro career, it’s always been a passion of mine to help young women. So, I feel like I’ve always been a leader. Like I’ve always been a talker,” Carter explains.

“I kind of just flowed into a role that will allow me to showcase my leadership skills for young women on and off of the court.”

Dubbed “The Pink Pants Coach,” Carter exemplifies how women with strong influence in sports, the boardroom, or life can embrace their own sense of style. She went viral by wearing pink leather pants during the Cancer Awareness game night of the 2021-2022 basketball season.

However, despite the criticism, Carter used the national attention she garnered to showcase how women can lead and be powerful while also being fashionable.

“I think it was a negative aspect to it because that’s what was put out there: ‘How dare she? Why does she think this is appropriate,'” Carter recalls.

“Now I just think a lot of people see the confidence that I wear and then they see the clothes because I just show up as me and I’m not apologizing for whatever.”

Press play below to learn more about coach Sydney’s leadership role at the University of Texas, her plans for the future, the current WNBA players she thinks we should be watching out for, and her excitement about the expansion of the WNBA.

RELATED CONTENT: James Harden Passes Magic Johnson On All-Time NBA Playoff Points List