Robert Carroll Jr., director of campus recreation, is quietly one of the most influential people on campus.
He took a weight room with a couple dumbbells and built the $12 million state-of-the-art facility seen today.
Carroll has lived all over the world, but calls Tallahassee his home. He is a graduate of Florida A&M with a degree in health and physical education. His father and all of his five siblings graduated from FAMU as well. His father worked for the university for 30 years. April will make his 30th year working for the university.
When Carroll started working for FAMU in 1982, campus recreation consisted of a small weight room with a few dumbbells near the office of student activities. The Hansel E. Tookes Sr. student recreation center includes a 16,500 square foot exercise/aerobics studio, a 700 square foot education classroom, indoor rock climbing wall, two indoor basketball/multi-purpose courts, two racquetball courts, a juice bar and a wellness suite.
The recreation center also has several outdoor sports facilities which include two sand volleyball courts, three basketball courts, two synthetic turf flag football fields, one soccer field, one baseball field, one softball field, a field house and a pavilion.
“Short of coach Tookes, Bob Carroll is campus rec,” said Henry Kirby, associate vice-president for student affairs and dean of students. He has worked with Carroll for almost 30 years and is Carroll’s supervisor.
“He (Carroll) is forever thinking of ways to improve campus recreation,” Kirby said. “Bob Carroll has an unlimited supply of energy; I have to tell him to slow down sometimes.”
Carroll convinced Kirby as well as Fred Humphries, to make campus recreation into its own department. Prior to that, campus recreation was a segment of student life. Carroll has also served as interim director of student activities.
Joseph Ramsey, a physical education professor, has also worked with Carroll over the years. He said Carroll was determined to build a world-class recreation center.
“His original plan was to create a bigger and better recreation center than the Leach center at Florida State University,” Ramsey said.
Marvin Green, director of student activities, said Carroll has been like a mentor to him. He said the skills he learned from Carroll while working for campus recreation he still uses today.
“I learned so many life lessons from Bob,” Green said.
Carroll said he has no biological children but he feels that the students who have benefited from the campus recreation are his children.
“I think I will be remembered for moving the university forward,” Carroll said.