Coaching Great Frank Carroll Passes Away

Coaching legend Frank Carroll passed away on June 9, 2024, after a battle with cancer. He was 85.

Coaching legend Frank Carroll passed away on June 9, 2024, after a battle with cancer. He was 85.

Carroll, whose coaching career spanned 60 years, helped guide many of the sport’s greatest athletes, including Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and World champions Michelle Kwan and Linda Fratianne.

All told, he coached one Olympic champion, six Olympic medalists and 11 Olympians from five countries at 10 Olympics. He coached three World champions, four World Junior champions and six U.S. champions. He was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1996.

Carroll trained champions in the 6.0 scoring system before and after the end of compulsory figures, and he coached champions under the international judging system. He retired from coaching on Aug. 3, 2018, 23 days past his 80th birthday.

“What Frank and his team created over the years is remarkable, and I feel privileged to have been part of it,” 2002 Olympic bronze medalist and Carroll pupil Tim Goebel said in a story by Phil Hersh in SKATING magazine upon the coach’s retirement.

“He showed many times that a coach can take a skater from their very first steps to an Olympic podium,” Olympic champion Scott Hamilton said in the SKATING story. “He weathered every storm with class, elegance and incredible quality. He was passionate yet unflappable, instilling the qualities he experienced from the golden age of skate to create modern champions.” 

“He changed the lives of every skater and parent he came across,” Kwan said on the eve of Carroll’s 80th birthday.

Lysacek honored Carroll after winning the 2010 Olympic title with the coveted USOC Order of Ikkos medal, which is a symbol of excellence in coaching, as represented by an athlete’s achievement as an Olympic medalist.

“He (Carroll) made me believe that I could skate perfectly in the Olympics,” Lysacek said after the 2010 Games. “When I first heard the results, he was the first person I thought about. … He owns just as much or more of my Olympic gold medal as I do.”

The start of Carroll’s coaching career can be traced back to the Boston area and his first coach, the legendary Maribel Vinson Owen. Under Owen, Carroll learned proper technique and mental toughness.

“She taught me great discipline, about being on time, always showing up, never backing out, not saying, ‘Oh, I don’t feel well today,’” Carroll said of Owen. “You go to the rink and you never complain about the ice.”

He also absorbed many more life lessons, on and off the ice, from his mentor. An advocate of education, Owen challenged her young pupil to gain knowledge about a multitude of subjects and pushed him to become well-read.

"She wanted to hear my Latin pronunciation, which she thought was atrocious," Carroll told SKATING in 2021.

Carroll, who graduated from Holy Cross in 1960 with a degree in sociology, passed down those lessons to his own skating pupils.

“He is an all-around great coach, who considers the full scope of skating on a kid’s life. He had one eye on the prize, and the other eye on the person,” Linda Leaver, coach of Olympic champion Brian Boitano, said after Carroll’s retirement.

Carroll’s skating career included winning junior bronze medals at the 1959 and 1960 U.S. Championships. He spent more than four years with Ice Follies before embarking on a full-time coaching career.

Donations in Carroll’s memory can be made to the Memorial Fund, which always held special meaning to him. Several of his former clubmates, friends and coaches, including Owen, died tragically in the 1961 U.S. World Team plane crash outside of Brussels, Belgium. The Memorial Fund was created shortly thereafter, to honor those who perished and to support current Team USA athletes. Click here to donate:


Frank Carroll’s Coaching Highlights by The Numbers

1 Olympic champion: Evan Lysacek (2010)

3 World champions: Linda Fratianne (1977, 1979); Michelle Kwan (1996, 1998, 2000); Lysacek (2009)

4 World Junior champions: Mark Cockerell (1976); Tiffany Chin (1981); Christopher Bowman (1983); Kwan (1994)

6 Olympic medalists: Gold — Lysacek (2010); Silver — Fratianne (1980) and Kwan (1998); Bronze — Tim Goebel (2002); Gracie Gold (2014 Team Event); Denis Ten (2014); Kwan (2002)

10 Olympics, beginning in 1976, as coach of 11 different skaters from five countries (six from U.S., plus one each from Denmark, Mexico, Japan and Kazakhstan). Two more Olympics, 1972 and 1994, in which his skater was an alternate.

6  U.S. champions/15 titles: Fratianne (1977–1980); Christopher Bowman (1989); Kwan (1996, 1998–2001); Goebel (2001); Lysacek (2007-08); Gold (2014, 2016)

X  Bowman, silver in 1989 and bronze in 1990; Goebel, silver in 2002 and 2003; and Ten, silver in 2013 and bronze in 2015, also were World medalists under Carroll’s tutelage