Those who attend John Carroll's funeral will see the impact the veteran coach had on the tennis community, longtime friend Trish Faust said.
Carroll, who coached at Millard North for more than 30 years, died Monday night of lung cancer. He was 69.
“The numbers are astronomical of how many lives he touched, whether in the tennis court or classroom,” Faust said. “I don't know where they'll find anywhere big enough to hold his funeral.”
Visitation will be Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Braman Mortuary’s Southwest Chapel, 6505 S. 144th St. The funeral service is 10 a.m. Saturday at Westside Church, 15050 W. Dodge Rd.
Carroll started coaching tennis at Millard High in 1978. Faust and family members have been hearing from several former players and students, some in their 30s and living out of town, who planned to come back for the services.
Carroll coached four state championship teams and produced 14 No. 1 singles state champions. He was inducted into the Metro Tennis Association's Hall of Fame on Oct. 4.
He attended the ceremony in a wheelchair but was unable to say much because he was too weak. Millard North Principal Brian Begley said Carroll was able to smile and acknowledge former players and coaches who were there.
“He was such a wonderful man and teacher and coach,” Begley said. “We are truly going to miss him.”
Carroll had coached junior David Liu, who won his second Class A singles title on Friday. Carroll was aware that Liu had won and that Millard North had finished third in the team race.
“He was very happy and gave thumbs up and there was a big smile on his face when I showed him the picture,” his son John said.
The younger Carroll said his dad was a pack rat and had saved all of the class pictures since he began teaching in the Millard School District in the late 1970s. He also saved all of his notes about individual tennis players. The family was getting a kick reading the notes about which students were talking too much in class.
A number of former players and students visited Carroll in the hospital before his death, which meant a lot, his son said.
Begley said he also shared a lot of stories about Carroll on Tuesday at school. They'd known each other for years, since Carroll was teaching at Kiewit Middle School and Begley was an assistant principal. Carroll was chosen as the Nebraska middle school teacher of the year a few years ago.
Carroll coached tennis at Millard High before moving to Millard North when it opened. He was the program's only coach before becoming too ill.
He will be buried in Millard North tennis coaching gear.
“He was a teacher and a coach all the way to the end,” his son said. “He loved his kids and, boy, did his kids love him.”
Carroll is survived by his wife, Michele; son John; daughters Krystina Klucking and Katrina Goodman; and four grandchildren.
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