Carter pivotal in ‘Coach’

Director in talks for controversial basketball coach pic

Paramount has tapped Thomas Carter (“Save the Last Dance”) to helm “Coach Carter,” the basketball biopic set for Tollin/Robbins and MTV Films to produce.

Studio is in negotiations with the director over the project, which was launched a year ago when Par acquired films rights to the life story of Ken Carter, the controversial boys basketball coach at Richmond High School in Northern California.

The coach became nationally known in 1999 after benching the entire undefeated team — including his son Damien — in midseason for poor academic performance, forfeiting two games. The so-called Great Lockout in the blue-collar city led to increased focus on academics at what had been a violence-plagued campus.

Tentative title was originally “Old School: The Ken Carter Story,” but that was altered after DreamWorks went ahead with college comedy “Old School.”

Mark Schwahn, who has a screenplay credit on “The Perfect Score” for Tollin/Robbins, has been attached to pen “Coach Carter.”

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