After 60 years of coaching, Frank Carroll is taking down his shingle. His last official day of work will be August 3.
The iconic coach was celebrated at an emotional retirement party hosted by the Toyota Sports Centre last week. “The director got up to make a speech and in the middle of it she started crying and everyone was crying, telling me what I meant in their life,” he said.
Carroll’s coaching career began at age 20 during his last year at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. “I was working at a rink in Providence, Rhode Island, where Maribel (Vinson Owen, his coach) taught. She was mad as hell at me that I turned professional. But then she accepted me and helped me, and made suggestions about my teaching.
“I performed with Ice Follies for four and a half years and I also taught on that tour. I taught the chorus boys and any principal skater that wanted to come on. I would teach them jumping and steps to improve their skating because some of the chorus boys were not very good skaters. So they insisted they do a class.”
Carroll was the coaching force behind Linda Fratianne, Michelle Kwan, and Evan Lysacek who all became World champions under his direction, with Lysacek claiming the Olympic title in 2010. He also coached Denis Ten, who was murdered on July 19.
He has no set plan for his future but hopes to continue working with the US Figure Skating junior development program. “That will keep me active. I would be travelling a lot but I would not have to do that every day,” he said.
“I am now 80 and I just don’t want to be responsible for skaters anymore. I don’t want to get on any more planes going to Europe and Asia. I have been on so many airplanes in my life — you have no idea. It’s been a long, long, long time. If I travel I would like to do it for my own pleasure and not be responsible.
“I don’t want to go to competitions anymore because I just don’t want that responsibility to the association, to the skater and the stress that goes along with it. At this point in my life, I want to spend some leisure time and do what I want to do.
“So, I think I will make a schedule. I would like to take some art classes. I went to art school in Worcester, Massachusetts, and I was very good. So, I would like to sketch again, paint again, and do some artwork. I would like to teach a little skating, and spend time with my puppies. They are the cutest things you ever saw.
“I want to enjoy the money I have saved all these years and I want to spend time with the people who are important to me. Evan Lysacek came from New York on Friday night to see me and we had dinner together. It was very sweet of him to do that.
“I will decide what I am going to do each day. I am not going to be idle. I am not going to sit down and do nothing. I definitely want to be active.”