Back in 1983, “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” opened in theatres, and McDonald’s introduced “Chicken McNuggets.” In June of that year, Carol Monroe was hired by Florida Citrus Sports (FCS) as an administrative assistant and the organization is all the better for it.
For the last 33 years, no one interacting with the non-profit membership association could miss her smiling face. Upon announcing her retirement as Senior Director of Conference Relations and Hospitality, Carol leaves an indelible legacy with Florida Citrus Sports and its culture of service.
“Carol’s been the common denominator in a lot of the growth at Florida Citrus Sports,” said Steve Hogan, Florida Citrus Sports CEO. “As I’ve said many times before, relationships in this business are everything. It takes a team, a village, a volunteer base, and a strong membership in order to continue to be successful in this business and to take advantage of opportunities that you’ve been presented with. Carol most definitely has been that bridge, that warm smile, that face that I think folks are comfortable with at our organization.”
Hogan, celebrating his 10th anniversary at the helm, inherited Carol who was hired by longtime Executive Director Chuck Rohe. Earlier this year Rohe received Florida Citrus Sports’ highest service honor, the Harold Palmer Award.
“She’s almost irreplaceable,” said Hogan. But I’m happy for her. She’s worked so hard and long here. She’s been part of the fabric of this institution and I’m glad she and her husband Norman will have time to vacation. She never took a vacation while she worked for me.”
Those who really know her are thrilled for her family to enjoy the holidays without phones ringing off the hook. But that’s the nature of a leadership role in a business that stages world class sporting events at Camping World Stadium, led by the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl.
Joey Walters, a former pro football player, who works in the office adjacent to Carol overseeing Youth Programs for FCS is among the many who will miss her.
“I think she contributed to the culture of doing everything the right way and treating everyone with respect,” said Walters. “You don’t find that lot of times in some workforces. But those are the things she brings to the table.”
Monroe arrived in Orlando from her beloved University of Florida where she served as an athletic department intern.
“To say that she is passionate about her job would be an understatement,” said University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley. “She cares very much about the institutions, about college football and Florida Citrus Sports. But most of all, she cares about people.”
That theme is a constant with everyone, and we mean everyone she has supported over her 33 years at FCS.
“Her enthusiasm for her job, for the bowl games Florida Citrus Sports puts on and for her community is contagious,” said University of Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez. “As a former coach and now as an athletic director, I want to know that everything is in order when our team arrives for a bowl game. That has always been the case in Orlando and people like Carol are critical to that effort.”
Perhaps longtime Florida Citrus Sports member Karen Connors best described Carol’s consistency. “She’s got the biggest smile, the biggest heart. I just knew her as ‘Carol’ when I was new to the organization. I didn’t know how tenured and high up she was. I’m going to miss her because she’s been a great mentor, but I really am excited that she is going to have the holidays with her family for the first time in 30 years.”