Stephen Carroll, 64, a former Baldwin High School phys. ed. teacher and football coach, has sold more than 100 copies of his book, “100 Years of Baldwin Football,” a compendium of the high school gridiron program, since he self-published it last year.
Carroll said he spent the past four years compiling stories and collecting photos from friends, colleagues, the Baldwin Historical Society, the Baldwin Foundation for Education, former players, and football parents for the book, which was printed by Minuteman Press, in Rockville Centre, last September. He plans to order another 100 copies to offer for sale.
Carroll said he first got the idea to write the book in 1982, when he met George Craig, Baldwin High’s football coach from 1929 to 1958. Craig gave him hundreds of old photos, which came in handy when Carroll started working on the project in 2019.
“I was thinking, what am I going to do with these pictures?” he recalled. “So I put them away in my famous filing cabinet, which is a pile of papers and documents in my basement.”
Near the end of his coaching career, in 2019, Carroll realized that the high school football program would be celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2021. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the time to finish the book in time for the celebration.
By the time he completed the book, last September, he had filled 244 pages with Baldwin football history, accompanied by Craig’s photos — from accounts of individual players to the story of where the nickname Bruins came from.
“My favorite thing about the book is how the pictures tell the stories,” Carroll said. “It’s truly a history lesson, and a collection of untold football stories.”
One of his favorite stories, featured in the book, is about Reggie Jones, a Baldwin football player and wrestler in the 1940s (and later a legendary Jones Beach lifeguard). Jones enlisted in the Navy at the end of his junior year, Carroll said, to fight in World War II. Just four months after he left, the war ended, and Jones returned to Baldwin in September 1945 and played in a varsity football game against Oceanside, whose coach was a Navy veteran.
A local news organization covered the game, Carroll recalled, and the story featured the headline, “Coach and player both Navy vets.”
“My whole family has been involved in Baldwin football since the 1930s,” Carroll said. The talk at countless family dinners, he added, revolved around Bruins football.
Carroll’s uncle Steve Foley was a member of the 1936 football team; his uncle Edwin Orgass played in 1938; his father, Thomas Carroll, played on the 1948 team; and his brothers, Richard and Kevin Carroll, were the captains of the 1972 and 1973 squads, respectively. Carroll himself was the captain of the 1977 team.
After he graduated, he studied physical education at Nassau Community College, and played football for the Lions. He had planned to play football professionally, but would soon get pulled into the world of coaching. After transferring to Adelphi University, he earned a degree in physical education in 1979.
His first job was at St. Raymond’s parochial school in East Rockaway, teaching phys. ed. He became an assistant coach at Baldwin High in 1982, spent a couple of years as a head coach at St. Dominic’s High School, in Oyster Bay, and returned to Baldwin High in 1986. He became head football coach in 1987, and retired in 2020, after 33 years of directing the program.
“As Baldwin’s head coach, I think I had a pretty good career,” Carroll said. “We had 167 total wins in our conference, won the championship six times, and won the county in 2005.”