Bobby Carroll will become the football coach at York Comprehensive High School, returning to coach in the town where he grew up, played sports and still lives.
Carroll is leaving South Pointe High, where he built the Stallions' football program into a state power in just six years. He started the program when the school opened.
His hiring was approved Tuesday night by the York school district board and was announced by York schools superintendent Vernon Prosser. The move was not surprising and had been rumored to be in the works since York decided not to renew the contract of football coach Mike Propst after just one season.
"I'm glad to be here and ready to go to work," Carroll said while addressing the seven board members who unanimously approved the hiring. "I appreciate you guys for giving me this opportunity. Coaching here has been a dream of mine since I left this place in 1980. I hope in my 28 years I've learned a lot about people and coaching football.
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"I had an informal discussion with Mr. Prosser at a basketball game in December and asked him what he was looking for in a football coach. When he told me a state championship, that closed the book on my decision to seek the job. To be successful in football you need four things: facilities, good assistant coaches, athletes and the support of your administration and community. That's in place here.''
Carroll said he had to take the job for his family. He applied another time when it opened, but admitted he didn't get it because he wasn't ready. But he got his chance to be a head coach in 2005 when hired by South Pointe Principal Al Leonard to build the Stallions' program from scratch after spending 22 seasons as an assistant at Northwestern High.
His son, Spencer, is a sophomore at York, and Carroll will have the opportunity to coach him the next ball season. He also will be united on Friday nights with his family, which spent Friday night's this fall watching the Cougars play. That includes his wife, Sherry, who Carroll described as the best "football wife in the country," his fifth-grade daughter, Chloe, and his mom, Mary Etta, who retired from teaching at York Comprehensive.
"We (South Pointe) beat York 56-7 in late October and one of the hardest things I've ever done in football was not going on the field and patting Spencer on the back after he threw that 80-yard touchdown pass. Now I can be part of it, coach him and all his friends who grew up with him and hang out at our house.
"And I'll get to see Chloe grown up. I remember telling her when she was only 5 to come let me tie her shoes. She told me she already knew how to tie them, and I didn't even know it. I drove to South Pointe while it was dark each morning and came home after dark. I live a mile from the high school here and can walk to work.''
Carroll was a standout offensive lineman for York and played in the 1979 Shrine Bowl Game. In five varsity seasons at South Pointe, he compiled a 50-18 record.
South Pointe had freshmen and sophomores its first season and fielded 9th grade and JV teams. Carroll decided to leave the freshmen together and when they were seniors in 2008, the Stallions beat Northwestern in the Class AAAA Division II state championship game 35-14 to complete a 15-0 season.
The Stallions made it to the Class AAAA, Division II state semifinals in 2009, but were knocked out 24-6 by Northwestern.
In 2010, the Stallions were moved down to Class AAA by the South Carolina High School League based on enrollment and held the No. 1 ranking in the classification all but one week. They lost 27-23 to Myrtle Beach in the state championship game.
York moved into a new high school building this year, and the football team plays in a state-of-the-art stadium that includes a turf field, dressing rooms at each end, more seats and several concession stands.
But on the field, Propst's young Cougars fell short of expectations and ended the season with a 3-7 record and missed the playoffs. One win was a forfeit by Rock Hill, which won the game 43-18.
Carroll said he will begin working to turn the program around as soon as possible.
He has turned in his resignation with the Rock Hill school district and said he hopes the board will allow him to leave right away at its meeting on Monday.
Carroll will teach social studies at York Comprehensive High.
"I plan to get work here as soon as I can,'' he said. "I plan to meet with the coaches here (York) and tell them what the program will be like. If they want to be part of it, good. If they don't, there will be no hard feelings.
"There are kids here who want to play football; as coaches we need to do our best to make it fun for them while teaching them the game. There was some good young talent on this year's team, and Coach Propst did a good job developing it. Our job it to take it to the next level.''