October 29, 2012

After Five Years Away, Carroll Returns to Duke

2007 first-team All-American back with Blue Devils after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Matt Forman | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Casey Carroll, who last played for Duke in 2007, will return to the Blue Devils this spring as a 28-year-old fifth-year senior defenseman.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

Duke's long, athletic defense seemingly has gotten a little rangier. And this "news" comes with an inspiring side story.

Confirming speculation from earlier this summer, Casey Carroll is back at Duke for a fifth season after serving four deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment of the United States Army.

Carroll, who earned first-team All-American honors in 2007 as a member of Duke's national runner-up squad and honorable mention All-American accolades in 2005, will bolster an already-strong Blue Devils defense. Listed on the Blue Devils' 2012-13 roster page at 6-foot and 182 pounds, Carroll likely will play alongside a unit that features returning starters at close Henry Lobb (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) and Chris Hipps (6-4, 211), along with Harvard transfer Dan DiMaria (6-3, 200). Carroll will wear his old No. 37, a number occupied by All-American Mike Manley the last several seasons.

Carroll played in four games in 2006, Duke's scandal-shortened season, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice on March 6. He returned to the field in 2007, starting 20 games on defense, and completed his undergraduate requirements at Duke before joining the Army.

Per NCAA regulations, student-athletes are normally required to complete four years of athletic competition within five academic years, which allows flexibility for redshirts or medical hardships. But according to Article 14, Section 2 of the NCAA Division I Manual for 2012-13, which can be downloaded here, Carroll is exempted.

The clause reads: "A student-athlete shall complete his or her seasons of participation within five calendar years from the beginning of the semester or quarter in which the student-athlete first registered for a minimum full-time program of studies in a collegiate institution, with time spent in the armed services, on official religious missions or with recognized foreign aid services of the U.S. government being excepted. For international students, service in the armed forces or on an official religious mission of the student’s home country is considered equivalent to such service in the United States."

Carroll, who will play the 2013 season at 28 years old, is currently pursuing a master's degree in Duke's well-regarded Fuqua School of Business.

In 2010, Carroll detailed his decision to join the Army on the website of "Lead the Way Fund," a charitable organization "established to raise funds in support of disabled U.S. Army Rangers and the families of Rangers who have died, have been injured or are currently serving in harm’s way around the world. ... Inspired by the courage and character of Sgt. James J. Regan who was killed in Iraq while serving with honor with Charlie company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment."

In advance of running the New York Marathon as part of a fundraiser, Carroll wrote: "While many of you know I have been serving in the military for the past few years, few people know why I have chosen this specific path.  My inspiration and motivation come from a former Duke laxer like myself, Sgt. James Regan.  He was a man that sacrificed everything so that we can continue to enjoy the small things in our lives.  Jimmy Regan was killed February 9, 2007 while conducting combat operations in Iraq.  The commitment and dedication he upheld has had a profound affect on my life."

In late September, Duke coach John Danowski posted on Twitter: "Congratulations to Erin and Casey Carroll on the birth of their son, Casey born earlier today!"

Earlier in the summer, after a day at Duke's summer lacrosse camp, Danowski Tweeted: "Casey Carroll, Duke 07, US Army Ranger gave a moving talk after last night's about "brotherhood" parallels in Lax/Army, gave me the chills!"

Duke graduated All-Americans Manley and long-stick midfielder CJ Costabile from its 21st-ranked defense that allowed 9.25 goals per game in 2012, and also lost defensive coordinator Chris Gabrielli, who became Providence's head coach. But with the addition of Carroll — whose experience and background will make him an easy leader on and off the field — not to mention DiMaria, along with Billy Conners and Luke Duprey, who both have played significant minutes, the Blue Devils should be stout on the defensive end.

Welcome back, Casey.

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