Former CHS Greyhound Kicker Samantha Eastes on Coaching Football

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April 2021

The former Carmel High School (CHS) Greyhound has shattered glass ceilings as the first female kicker for CHS’ football team back in 2012–16. Additionally, Eastes was an accomplished soccer and track student-athlete who went on to play soccer—on a full-ride scholarship—to Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Today, Eastes is completing her masters at Indiana University (IU), is teaching fourth grade at Spencer Elementary AND is the new kicking coach at Owen Valley High School in Spencer, Indiana.

CHS Kicker Samantha Eastes

Blazing Trails for Young Women

Eastes began her journey as a female kicker in football at Clay Middle School, her eighth-grade year.

“I remember showing up to get my equipment on the first day, and I was like, what am I getting myself into?” Eastes recalled. “I was like, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ and ‘Are they going to accept me?’ I am so thankful that those questions didn’t deter me from pursuing [playing].”

Upon reflection, Eastes is grateful to her coaches and fellow players for the experiences.

“I am so thankful for my time at Carmel,” Eastes expressed. “In soccer and football, I’ve had so many amazing coaches that have helped me and strengthened me, not only as a player but as an individual, and who have helped me become who I am today.”

CHS Kicker Samantha Eastes

Regarding her relationships with her fellow football teammates, Eastes shared, “They just really accepted me into the ‘brotherhood,’ the family that they have created there, and I’m so thankful for that.”

It Was All Preparation for What Was to Come

In addition to thanking her coaches, former teammates and her parents for their unwavering support of her endeavors, Eastes believes that her experiences have helped develop her skills and ability to lead and coach student-athletes.

“Being on many different teams helped me to understand people better,” Eastes stated. “It has helped me understand how to be on a team and what it’s like to be a good teammate. And it’s taught me communication and different team-building skills.”

Eastes added, “I’ve been really lucky to have so many good role models for coaches so now I can hopefully give back as a coach now.”

While working on her masters at IU, Eastes is studying literacy, culture and language education, a passion that was cultivated while attending CHS.

“After I graduated [EKU], I looked for teaching jobs,” Eastes said. “I am grateful for this opportunity to teach fourth-grade Spencer Elementary.”

When asked what Eastes’ short-term and long-term goals were as far as coaching football is concerned, she replied, “My immediate goals are to connect with the other coaches and with the community who have all been so welcoming. Long term, I think this is a good opportunity for me to learn from the coaches that I’m working with and see how I can help out and be part of this program.”

CHS Kicker Samantha Eastes

Speaking to young females who may be interested but unsure about taking risks and putting themselves in a position like Eastes did that may lead to ridicule and negative energy, Eastes emphasized that it’s worth it in the end once you’ve accomplished your goals and achieved new heights.

“The comments and the ‘heat’ are not avoidable,” Eastes honestly stated. “There’s people out there who doubt women in these roles, but I think it’s really made me stronger as a person and maybe fight harder to prove them wrong. Yes, it’s worth it. When I first got this coaching job, I had so many past coaches and players reach out to me, like Coach [John] Hebert, and it’s been so nice to hear from them, and they’ve been so willing to help me. I wouldn’t have these fantastic relationships if I had let those negative thoughts and comments hold me back.”