Dave Carroll began his softball career in Chattanooga, Tennessee and soon developed into one of the top pitchers in the game. He was recruited to play for Howard's Furniture in 1973 and was a major part of Howard's first two national championships in 1973 and 1974, the latter of which he was First Team All-World. David was also a top salesman and had a flair for marketing and he and Richard Howard soon developed a company that distributed softball bats, balls and gloves throughout the country under the name Howard and Carroll Sports.
David played for Howard's until 1977 when he formed his own team under that company name. He had a great eye for developing young talent and he built his team with players such as Denny Jones, Joey Raby, Tom Beall, Mickey Morrison, Gene Jones and Ron Woody. The team had early success in multiple national tournaments and in 1978, under the name Dave Carroll Sports, finished 2nd to Howard's in the USSSA World Series. They repeated that finish in 1980 to Campbell's, after picking up Bruce Meade, Mike Parrott and several players from Poindexter Lumber. A charter member of the National Slo-Pitch Conference, Dave founded his own conference in 1981.
Along with having a top national team, Dave was adept at promoting his softball equipment throughout the country by utilizing his team and players to build his brand. He sold equipment at tournaments, put on exhibitions in many local areas and relied heavily on very effective print advertising. In many ways, Dave Carroll was the forerunner of the success that Steele's enjoyed for many years, combining a top national softball team with marketing products.
Dave also worked with singer Michael Bolton who was a softball fanatic and toured with a team around the country. Dave helped him acquire players such as Mike Bolen and Phil Higgins who played with Bolton for several summers.
From another story on the Internet....
One of the first confrontations came during an eight-team, double-elimination Invitational Tournament held in Howard's back yard in 1977.
Carroll's team had managed to beat a tough Jerry's Caterer's of Miami, yet had suffered one loss when they made it to the winner's bracket. They faced an unbeaten Howard's team which had scored victories over Nelson's Paints of Oklahoma City, 49-48, Burnette and Associates of Chattanooga, 63-34, and Buddy's Sporting Goods of Tallahassee, 74-19.
The finals were scheduled for 9 p.m. that Saturday evening, but because of the length of earlier games, didn't start until 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
"I don't care if it were 5 a.m. in the morning," said Cloninger. "All the players were up for that game. There were about 2,000 fans and they all stayed right there. Everybody always thought a fight would erupt."
By 4 a.m. no fight had erupted, though "there was a lot of talk back and forth," said Carroll. Howard's big guns dominated, knocking 21 home runs for a comfortable 45-24 victory. At 4:30 a.m., everybody went home. It was a cold initiation for Dave Carroll.