Remis Velisque

September 26, 2006

Today's date is hard-wired into my human memory chip - like the day JFK was shot, or the more recent tragedy of 9/11. I will always remember where I was and what I was doing on this date 17 short years ago - on the road in Baltimore with then-new head lacrosse coach Dave Urick. He barely knew me then, but after a month on the job, he was looking forward to meeting with former Hoya players. One of the first alums I introduced him to was attorney Steve Langhoff '65, a former Hoya football and lacrosse player, who knew the Maryland lacrosse scene as well as anyone.

During our visit at Steve's office, Dave took a phone call and very soon afterwards informed me that we needed to get going back to campus. By the time our car got onto I-95, he clued me into his earlier phone call. The director of Hoyas Unlimited,

Greg Carroll, my very close friend and colleague, was playing squash during lunch with then-intramurals assistant Adam Brick at Yates when he suddenly collapsed and died instantly from a massive coronary. I don't remember saying much for the remainder of the trip other than mumbling a few words now and then. Coach U must have thought I might jump out of the car at any moment. (See scan of October 1989 HoyaSaxa article here).

My principal therapy for the following month consisted of Greg flashbacks and then writing a few more words about him several times a day. The resulting homage to Greg may not be my best piece of writing but it may very well be my favorite. The link to it can be found here.

Fred Pennekamp `71, Greg's best bud and boatmate, undertook his own form of self-therapy. He started a college fund for Julia, the infant daughter of Greg and his wife Michelle '82. Then he went out and asked everyone who knew Greg to remember him by making a gift to the fund. The result of this effort is also most pleasing. Julia Carroll entered college this fall as a member of the Georgetown class of 2010.

Coach Tony Johnson, Michelle Faurot, Julia Carroll, and Fred Pennekamp at last year's dinner

As I was thinking about all of this today - right about the exact time of day that I had first learned of Greg's demise in 1989 - I ran into head crew coach Tony Johnson who was returning from a morning on the river. He, like coach Urick, had just started at Georgetown when Greg died. Before I had a chance to mention today's special occasion, Tony eagerly told me about his experience on the water this morning. He said it was such a peaceful and perfect day on the Potomac - so perfect that it was a carbon copy of the day that Greg left this world. He too has never forgotten that September day. Unaware until I reminded him of today's anniversary, his reply was simply, "Of course."

Next Saturday evening, Hoyas Unlimited will sponsor the 20th annual Athletic Recognition Dinner. The service award for Hoyas will be presented to Maura Walsh Devaney '76, the well-deserving immediate past president of the Hoyas organization. Her citation will begin with the same words as every award citation has for the past 17 years:

Each year we recognize one individual who has served HOYAS Unlimited as a volunteer in such an outstanding way as to merit special recognition. This award has been dedicated to the memory of J. Gregory Carroll, Director of HOYAS Unlimited from 1985 to 1989, when he was suddenly taken from us. As a member of Georgetown's championship heavyweight crews from 1968 to 1971 and later a volunteer coach serving the Hoya crews from 1978 to 1983, Greg gave definition to the words dedication, commitment, loyalty, and selfless service.

Greg brought these qualities, his abiding love of Georgetown, and his passion for the competition of sport to his position as Director of HOYAS Unlimited. Greg knew well the value and importance of HOYAS for all sports at Georgetown and he persevered cheerfully in advancing the goals of athletics through HOYAS Unlimited.

This date will always be a special day for me because I can never-ever forget my good friend Greg. Remis velisque.


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