Fulda Raiders pay tribute to longtime coach Carroll
FULDA -- Nearly three decades ago, Heron Lake first cousins Tom Hady and Rick Haberman were participating in a junior high track and field meet at Fulda. They remember well an enthusiastic young Raiders' coach with a bullhorn who was continually shouting out instructions telling all of the participants where to go and what to do next.
A decade later, Haberman was hired to teach and coach at Fulda High School and Hady asked him "Is that guy who always yells still there?"
"Yes, he sure is," Haberman answered. "He's Harvey Carroll, and he teaches sixth grade and coaches at some level in every season."
A native of South Dakota -- growing up as the youngest of seven boys in Willow Lake and graduating from Dakota State College in Madison -- Carroll spent five years teaching and coaching at Garretson, S.D., before moving across the border to Fulda in 1980.
Over the next 28 school years, Carroll -- who was raised by his mother Lillian after his father died when he was just 4 years old -- was a fixture at Raider athletic events and yes, he did his share of yelling.
"I was always glad when we played Fulda," remembered long-time Westbrook teacher and coach Gary DeBates, who competed head to head against Carroll in B-squad boys basketball games for more than 20 years. "Our people thought that I yelled a lot, but they said that Harvey yelled even more."
But just ask any of Carroll's Fulda coaching colleagues, and each will reflect on how genuine Harvey's caring and concern for all of his student-athletes was during his entire teaching and coaching career in eastern Murray County.
"Harvey Carroll is a class guy all the way," said Rich Hup, who was Fulda's head boys' basketball coach during all of Carroll's 22 years as an assistant (1982-2003). "Everything he did was for the kids. Harvey was so loyal, supportive and dedicated -- he was always there, willing to help in anyway he could"
After 22 seasons as an assistant basketball coach -- along with being a long-time assistant in both football and track -- Carroll became Fulda's head boys basketball coach in the 2003-04 season.
Unfortunately, Carroll's tenure as a head coach was limited to just four years as the early symptoms of stiffness in his back and legs were diagnosed as Parkinson's disease in 2005.
Despite, dealing with the lingering illness -- which is a disabling condition of the brain characterized by slowness of movement, stiffness, rigidity, loss of balance and coordination and difficulties with speech -- Carroll taught and coached two more years.
His 2006 Raiders capped a fine season with a couple of tournament victories and a trip to Marshall where FHS battled perennial power Ellsworth for the sub-section championship.
Next weekend -- Dec. 15 -- the Fulda community will honor Carroll, along with others afflicted by Parkinson's, in a benefit at a Saturday doubleheader (girls and boys) basketball game at FHS between the Raiders and the Luverne Cardinals.
Dubbed as the Parkinson's Disease Awareness Fundraiser, the event features a meal (pulled pork sandwiches, chips, bar and beverage), a raffle, a silent auction and the two varsity games.
"The idea for the fundraiser came about at a volleyball match this past fall when Gregg Slaathaug, Steve Kellen and I were talking about benefits to help people, like the 'Coaches vs. Cancer' event that we do," explained current Fulda head boys basketball coach Colby Pack. "Things have really rolled since then and we are looking forward to a great turnout of people to honor Harvey and help out others who are dealing with the disease."
There are more than 60 donated items for the raffle and some very interesting keepsakes among the 43 things on the auction list, including signed pictures of Johnny Unitas, Adrian Peterson and John Wooden, a statue of Joe Mauer, a Rudy Ruettiger book and a just-received autographed Rod Carew bat.
Available in eight sizes, Parkinson's Disease Awareness T-shirts -- with the words Support, Cure and Advocate printed in bold -- will be for sale.
The meal begins at 4:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria and is planned to continue until 7 p.m. with proceeds from the free-will donation going to Parkinson's Disease Awareness.
Carroll's enthusiasm a lasting legacy in Fulda
While Carroll's intensity and love of sports led him to a certain amount of yelling -- both correction and encouragement -- his approach was always positive, as testified by his peers.
"Harvey was involved," summed up Brad Holinka, who Carroll assisted for many years in both football and track and field. "He really bought into the idea of being involved in sports in each season -- football in the fall, basketball in the winter, track in the spring and baseball in the summer. Whatever the season, Harvey really put in the time, effort and enthusiasm. He was so good with kids."
"I love the guy," said Carroll's long-time assistant football coaching partner, Bryan Lund. "Harvey dedicated his life to working with kids. He was able to motivate them and always get the most from them.
"It's just crazy how things have gone for him over the past few years. Harvey was always so active. He walked his dog, went hunting often and was always at everything.
"He's been lucky to have such a great wife -- Sharon -- right by his side through all of this," credited Lund.
Harvey and Sharon, who still teaches business education and is a media specialist at FHS, have three grown sons -- Chad (Benson), Brad (Lewisville, Texas) and Travis (Marshall) -- all three-sport athletes for the Raiders.
"We have been able to fly down to Texas and see Brad," Sharon mentioned. "Harvey has not been able to do a lot of things that he has had a passion for like golf, hunting and gardening. But, he's been able to travel, and we go out to eat -- usually picking places that are spacious and handicap-friendly.
"Harvey uses a walker and is able to ride a three-wheeled bike, so he gets to the Fulda sports' events and other places around town.
"The disease has affected his speech and he is hard to understand, which is frustrating for him. People who have Parkinson's lack dopamine (in the brain) so the right connections don't click," Sharon explained.
"Harvey has had a deep brain stimulation to help trigger the dopamine and takes a botox shot every four months to help relax his foot, which can stiffen and turn, causing him to stumble," Sharon continued.
While Carroll has dealt with the effects of Parkinson's over the past eight years or more, his friends and coaching associates continue to reflect on the legacy he left behind for so many of the student-athletes he encountered.
"Harvey was always intense and had high expectations of everyone around him," noted Haberman. "This included his students, his players, fellow teachers and fellow coaches.
"I remember walking by his sixth-grade classroom, often times I would stop outside and listen for a little bit. He was an amazing teacher, and it was hilarious listening to him. The volume was always on high and lot of funny things were said.
"All the kids were important to him. He was tough on those kids, but they loved him and they never doubted that he cared for them," Haberman said.
"Harvey was such a positive, fun-loving, good-natured guy," declared Greg Erdmann, who was Carroll's assistant on that 2006 sub-section runner-up basketball squad and coached with him in both football and track, as well. "He always expected the best from kids and had the knack to put them in positions where they had a chance to be successful."
Erdmann also recalled how Carroll worked through his affliction during their last two seasons coaching together.
"Harvey stayed positive the whole time," Erdmann said. "He always said that 'you do the best with what you got and just keep working,' which is just what he did."
Perhaps Slaathaug, an ex-Marine, sums it up best: "Harvey has been a great friend and mentor to me since I came to Fulda in 1999. One of the biggest compliments I receive is when someone on staff tells me I sound just like Mr. Carroll when I am teaching or coaching.
"He is an inspiration to everyone that he associates with and you always knew -- that from Harvey -- you were going to get the truth and his best at whatever he does,"Slaathaug said.
"As coaches, we are honored to put this fundraiser benefit on for all people dealing with Parkinson's, and we are privileged to recognize one of the most dedicated and passionate teachers and coaches the town of Fulda will ever know."