Stephen Carroll, former head coach of the Baldwin High School football team, recently reflected on how his book, “100 Years of Baldwin Football,” has impacted the community.
Since Carroll’s book was published in September of 2022, more than 200 copies have been sold. Carroll said he had spent four years compiling stories for the book and collecting photos from friends, colleagues, the Baldwin Historical Society, the Baldwin Foundation for Education, former players and football parents. Minuteman Press in Rockville Centre printed the book.
“I was the head coach in Baldwin for the past 35 years,” Carroll, who retired from coaching in 2020, said. “And while I was coaching, I was collecting pictures. So I figured that with the pictures I had and the pictures I can get, it would be nice to see a pictorial history about the program.”
The book covered the years 1921 to 2021, and Carroll said that towards the end of his coaching career he realized the high school football program would be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2021. However, he said he couldn’t finish the book in time for the centennial celebration.
By the time he completed the book, Carroll filled 244 pages with Baldwin football history, with the help of George Craig, Baldwin’s football coach from 1929 to 1958, photos — from accounts of individual players to the story of where the nickname Bruins came from.
“I had relatives that played in the Baldwin Bruins in the ‘30s and the ‘40s,” Carroll said. “And my brothers and I were all captains of the football team, so it was kind of like a no-brainer to put this book together.”
Carroll’s uncle, Steve Foley, was a member of the 1936 football team; another uncle, Edwin Orgass, played in 1938; his father, Thomas Carroll, was on the 1948 team; and his brothers, Richard and Kevin Carroll, captained the 1972 and 1973 squads, respectively. Carroll himself was the captain of the 1977 team.
After Carroll graduated from Baldwin High School, he studied physical education at Nassau Community College, and played on the football team. He had planned to play professionally, but decided to dive into coaching instead. After transferring to Adelphi University, he earned a degree in physical education in 1979.
Carroll’s first job landed him at St. Raymond’s parochial school in East Rockaway, where he taught physical education. He became an assistant coach at Baldwin High School in 1982, spent a couple of years as a head coach at St. Dominic’s High School in Oyster Bay, and returned to Baldwin in 1986, becoming head coach the following year. He retired in 2020, after 33 years of directing the program.
The book has made a splash in the Baldwin community, and Carroll said that about 50 copies are left. Since the cost of paper has gone up, Carroll added that he would not order any new copies of the book.
Carroll has been invited to speak about “100 Years of Baldwin Football” on Dec. 11 at the Baldwin Public Library, where he will share about 10 of the most unique pictures taken from the book. He will also be answering questions about his published work.
“When I say unique, some of these stories are just incredible,” Carroll said.
One of his favorite stories featured Reggie Jones, a Baldwin football player and wrestler in the 1940s, he said. 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, playing in a varsity football game against Oceanside High School, whose coach was a Navy veteran.
“It was the coolest thing to finally finish this book,” Carroll said. “Constantly talking to alumni, editing this book of 244 pages, I was working on it three days a week for about seven hours a day.”
Carroll said that his book shows how the community has rallied around the football program. He said that either people would attend football games or events at the Baldwin Fire Department.
“If you weren’t at the football games in the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, there was something wrong with you,” Carroll said, “because there weren’t a whole lot of extra things to do.”
Carroll mentioned that since publishing the book, he has received notes from people telling him that he has “captured the essence of football and all the important parts about it.”
“It’s wonderful to see the Baldwin football history memorialized,” B.A. Schoen, president of the Baldwin Foundation for Education, said.
According to Schoen, the book symbolized “great dedication” for Carroll and the people who helped him put the book together.