TAMPA, FL. - USF baseball hasn’t allowed many fans into their stadium this season because of the pandemic. But two fans that always show up are Keith and Nancy Carrow.
“Ever since I got here in 2015 they’ve been staples in our stands, and huge supporters of USF athletics,” said USF baseball head coach Billy Mohl.
“We love going to football games, but baseball is definitely our first sport that we love,” said Nancy Carrow, who is a USF alum and former Bulls cheerleader.
“We’re here and we get a new set of parents every couple of years,” said Keith Carrow.
“We break them in,” joked Nancy.
While most people have been content watching the games online, the Carrow’s have found extra comfort being at the ballpark. They’ve used it as a distraction. Back in December, they lost their daughter, Kelly, in a car accident. She was just 26.
“(Kelly) was very kind, had a ton of friends; was a very hard worker,” said Nancy. “She loved going to and following sports.”
“She was the first one in line, first one ready to go whenever we were going to go somewhere,” said Keith. “She was the first one dressed to the hill ready to go to football or baseball.”
Kelly loved going with her parents to USF baseball games.
“I’ve seen Kelly in our stands,” said Coach Mohl, who took her death to heart.
“I suffered the loss of a wife, people suffer losses of parents, but I got four boys and I couldn’t imagine losing a child,” said Mohl.
Mohl wanted to do something to honor Kelly’s memory. So he came up with an idea.
“Putting her initials on our hats,” said Mohl.
“He reached out and said ‘I wanted to see if you’d be okay if we wore Kelly’s initials during the year,’” said Nancy.
“The fact that we can honor Kelly’s name throughout the whole season -that is really special to our guys,” said Mohl.
Not long after that, coach sent the Carrow’s a first look of their daughter’s baseball hat.
“I shared that on Facebook and Twitter, I’m like ‘I can’t believe this is going to happen.’ By the next day I had over 100 people who wanted hats,” said Nancy.
With the help of USF’s equipment staff, the Carrow’s started taking orders and shipping out Kelly’s Baseball hat. Some went to family; some to friends. Others went to those just looking to show support.
“I never thought in a million years that there’d by people, that I don’t even know, on Twitter, that were like ‘oh I’d love to have one of those hats, where do I get one’” said Nancy.
All over the country, people are wearing Kelly’s hat.
“I think it’s up to like 18-20 states now,” said Nancy. The Carrows were able to donate $2,000 back to the baseball program from the proceeds of the “KC” hats.
With the memory of the Carrow’s daughter going strong, there was one more place to put Kelly.
“Nancy gave me a little business-sized card with a picture of Kelly on it,” said Mohl. “And it’s hanging in our dugout.”
“He’s totally embraced it and he’s shared it with the whole team,” said Keith.
“I just think it’s amazing that a D-I coach would even care to do that,” said Nancy.
Kelly Carrow is no longer physically present at USF baseball games. But the Bulls have made sure her family sees her everywhere. Kelly is cheering in her seat. She’s on USF’s hats; She’s in the home dugout.
“She’s always here,” said Nancy.