Croy brothers have built special relationship with their football coaching father

Bryan Hudnell | Staff Writer

Mason Comet assistant varsity football Coach Roche Croy was throwing a football with his two sons Austin and Carson well before they ever stepped foot on Dwire Field.

For the Croy family, football is a special time of the year and the sport has provided the family with plenty of memories and has brought them closer together. According to Roche, a wide receiver coach on the Mason coaching staff, football is a significant time investment for him and his family.

“I don’t want to say it consumes us but there are certainly times where it does,” Roche said. “Thank goodness we’ve got my wife Marcia who plays equalizer and makes sure that there are much more important things than football in our family but it’s certainly an exciting time of the year. With two young guys playing and me coaching, our household is very different during the football season without a doubt.”

Whether it is going to the weight room or running drills on the field, the sport of football plays a significant role in Austin’s life and is a total family effort.

“I’d say that everything from our daily routine revolves around it,” Austin said. “Me, my brother, and my dad are always at practice every day and my mom is also into it too when she supports us. It’s definitely one of the more important things.”

Austin and Carson participated in Mason Youth Football when they were younger and their father has been with them every step of the way; however, Roche’s time as Austin’s football coach was in jeopardy after Austin’s eighth grade year was over and there was an important conversation between Austin and Roche to decide his future in coaching.

“I was fortunate to coach Austin and Carson all the way from second grade up,” Roche said. “I started coaching high school football when Austin was going into fifth grade and when Carson was just starting. It’s been so rewarding as a father to have that opportunity. There came a time when Austin just finished his eighth grade season and we sat together as a family, when I say family, I really say me and Austin mostly, and we sat down and we had to make a decision on whether or not I was going to continue coaching or not and whether or not I wanted to be a dad and be up in the stands and watch him play. Thank goodness we made the decision to do that, and I give Austin a lot of credit, I was really worried about his sophomore year,  being mature enough to handle two relationships with his dad. He handled it far better than I’d ever dreamt he would.”

Even though the decision was made, Austin still has to deal with the complexity of being a coach’s son and the pros and cons that come with the relationship.

“It’s bittersweet for sure,” Austin said. “It’s nice because I can go to him whenever I need him. We’re so close which helps him know what I’m asking him and what I’m saying so he can help me on something that needs to be fixed. But at the same time, it can be rough because I hear it at home sometimes.”

A tragedy hit the family when Roche was diagnosed with throat cancer after the 2013 football season. Roche’s chemotherapy treatment caused him to miss time away from his family and football.

“I was diagnosed in December of 2013 and went through all of my treatments through the spring, so obviously, I wasn’t able to do any of the offseason stuff,” Roche said. “I was limited through the spring, and it was a very tough year, (I had) very little energy, coming out of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The team rallied around me, the coaching staff — the families and friends in Mason were unbelieveable.”

Not having his dad with him on the football field was a significant adjustment for Carson.

“It was hard, not seeing him on the field and seeing him go through everything that he did,” Carson said.” You could tell that he missed being with us.”

After experiencing his cancer treatment, Roche developed a greater appreciation for his family on and off the field.

“It made me appreciate my time I have, not just with my sons on the football field, but with my family period,” Roche said. “My time with my wife, my time with my boys, and making sure I make that time while they’re still with us in our homes.”

With Austin being a senior, this will be Roche’s last year being Austin’s wide receiver coach after nearly 10 years of coaching his son.

“There’s a lump in my throat when I think about coaching in the future without Austin being one of my receivers to be honest with you,” Roche said. “He’s been with me for three years and well before that, and it’s been an absolute joy, and it’s been the time of my life.”