Carroll, who has served as AD for Cleveland Middle School for 12 years, was selected by the TIAAA administrative committee overseeing nominations. The committee then selects the award recipient at its yearly meeting based on TIAAA criteria. Individuals are partially selected on accomplishments and longevity and administrative performance.
Carroll was nominated by TIAAA past-president Larry Payne, former athletics director at Cleveland High who is now serving at the Cleveland City Schools’ administration office. He has coached baseball at Cleveland High School for 17 years with Ted and Danny Carson. He started as a volunteer football coach at CMS more than 20 years ago.
Carroll’s achievements include the building of the CMS sports facility which includes a football/track field and softball and baseball fields.
He is the first to receive the award at the middle school level.
“Recently, I completed my certification for athletic administrators. As far as I know, I am the only AD in Southeast Tennessee who is certified,” he said. “It is a big honor and I am thrilled to receive it. It was totally unexpected. I feel like this is a great honor not only for me, but Cleveland Middle School.”
The honored legatee has also added to his duties the responsibility of representing all athletics directors in Southeast Tennessee.
“One thing we are trying to do is get more local representation. There are very few from the area who go (to the meetings). Turner Jackson (Bradley Central AD) is one who does attend. Upper East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee are all heavily involved (in TIAAA), in all their middle schools and high schools. But, in Southeast Tennessee there hasn’t been much participation. I don’t know why. It’s a great organization,” said Carroll.
There are more than 300 members of the TIAAA. The association, which is also part of the national association (NIAAA), designs classes just for administrators who can learn about all kinds of topics. Carroll is participating in the master’s program through the organization.
“It is a way to further our job as athletics directors and administrators,” he stated.
The longtime coach turned administrator said the biggest satisfaction he feels about receiving the award is the positive light focused on Cleveland Middle.
“I like to go (to the meetings) because every year I learn something new I can implement here. We have tried a lot of their programs. Last year we had a student athletics council. The council let us know what the kids want to see us do better and what we are doing well. It has also helped with what the eighth-graders are concerned about as far as going to high school and the athletics there,” explained Carroll.
The CMS athletics director gave credit to friend and advisor Donnie Yates, another longtime teacher, coach and administrator at the school.
“Donnie Yates has been my mentor and really been the guy I try to pattern myself after. He and Larry Payne are the two I really strive to be like. They are both huge influences as far as athletics and things like that,” he credited.
Carroll is a 1980 graduate of CHS and received his degree from Lee University. He is married to Melinda Carroll, assistant city manager, and has two children, Megan and Zachary, who both graduated from Cleveland High.
“My family is very important. They always help me here by volunteering, helping with concessions and everything else,” he said.