Patriarch of Carroll football dies

Jim Spoerl, affectionately labeled the patriarch of Carroll High School football by former Patriots players, died last Thursday at Hospice of Dayton. He was 86.

A Hamilton Catholic grad where he excelled in multiple sports, Spoerl played quarterback and defensive back at the University of Dayton. His successor as the Flyers’ QB was promising Chaminade product Gerry Faust. That began a friendship that would span both their distinguished coaching careers and beyond.

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Spoerl wasn’t the first Carroll head football coach. That honor went to Bernard Otten (1961-65). But it was Spoerl (1966-89) who established Carroll football as a mostly dominant program that spanned 23 seasons.

Uncompromising and frugal about player accolades, Spoerl’s teams were built around a punishing veer offense that was so popular at the time and shut-down defense.

Lacking a stadium at the Linden Avenue campus, Carroll initially played “home” games at nearby Beavercreek High School, rotating Friday nights when the Beavers played away games.

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The 1970-71 Carroll teams were Spoerl’s best. Carroll lost its opener at Beavercreek to begin the 1970 season and finished 9-1. With much of its team returning, Carroll went 9-0-1 the next season.

Carroll was an independent and later member of the Western Ohio League and Mid-Miami League while Spoerl was in place.

Carroll is in the midst of a major fund-raising campaign that among other things will refurbish its stadium. The new Field Turf playing surface will be christened “Spoerl-Bartlett Field,” in honor of Spoerl and former Patriots coach Steve Bartlett (1994-2010).

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Spoerl was inducted into the inaugural Carroll athletics hall of fame in 2003 and the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association hall of fame in 2016.

A viewing will be held from 5-8 p.m. on May 2 at Tobias Funeral Home, Far Hills Chapel. A Mass will be held at noon on May 3 at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Kettering.

In lieu of flowers, his family has requested donations to the Carroll Athletic Club, 334 Grove Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45215 or on the website Donations will help cover the expense of the new Carroll Athletic Field Naming Rights. The Carroll Athletic Club is a 501(c)3 and all donations are tax deductible.

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Cody Byrd was promoted to Carroll’s head football coach in February, succeeding Ben Rulli.

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