Sports, family unit big part of Medlock’s life

·4 min read
Carole Medlock
Carole Medlock

By her own admission, Carole Medlock didn’t follow the family script.

But in 2021, as the Alma bowling coach preps her team, the vibrant wife and mother of four wouldn’t change a thing.

“It’s funny how things turned out,” Medlock explained. “My parents (Catherine Walker and Ted Katte) worked for United Airlines; my dad was a pilot and mom was a flight attendant. I had uncles who were either pilots or worked for the airlines (industry), too.

“But I didn’t go that direction.”

Three months ago, Medlock signed on for her 17th year in education (her second as the Airedales’ bowling coach).

But she took a different path to get there.

Back in 2000, Medlock was a newspaper reporter at the Times Record. But the hours it took to cover the police beat weren’t conducive to raising small children.

“I really had not given much thought about teaching," Medlock said. "And I have to say, I didn’t really know a lot about education, either. But after Hadley and Landon were born, I had three kids at home, and the hours weren’t good. I was working weekends and holidays. I remember eating Thanksgiving dinner with some of the firemen.

“But they (newspaper bosses) put me on the education beat, because they knew I had three children at home, and it was a little more conducive to family life.”

After Medlock and her husband, Todd's fourth child, Nora, was born in 2007, Medlock made the jump to education.

Thankfully, she says, covering schools opened her eyes.

“Once I started getting out into the schools and seeing all of the neat things that were going on in education, that’s really what sparked my interest to become a teacher,” Medlock said.

Seventeen years later, Medlock has endured the changes that everyone in education has dealt with over the past decade, including technology and social media.

And, like her own kids, every child at Alma High School is different in their own way.

“I’ve gained an appreciation for the diverse student population we have,” Medlock said. “When you’re not in education, you assume all kids are like your kids. Getting in the schools and seeing all of the different things we have to serve and accommodate, from the top down, is something that I enjoy."

College golfer

Born in Chicago, Carole initially grew up in Kohler, Wisconsin, home to the Kohler Company and Whistling Straits golf course and home to this year’s Ryder Cup.

Some kids grow up playing travel baseball, softball or basketball (or all three). Carole Katte Medlock grew up bowling and golfing.

“We bowled growing up,” Medlock said. “My mom was in a bowling league. That was just one of the things we did, and then I started playing a lot of golf.”

After her parents relocated to Santa Rosa, California, where her dad was based out of San Francisco, Carole and her sister, Krissie, eventually moved to Sallisaw after her parents bought a local golf course from her grandparents.

“My grandparents owned a golf course in Sallisaw – the old Sallisaw Golf & Country Club,” Medlock said. “When they (grandparents) were ready to retire, my dad bought the golf course we moved to Sallisaw. But my mom and dad continued to commute to work – he was in San Francisco, and she (flew) out of Denver. They were here when they could be, but when they weren’t, my grandparents were here.

“The nice thing about it, they (grandparents) could be retired but they could continue to be involved. Sallisaw Golf & Country Club was the course my grandparents owned. It was the home course for our high school team for many years.”

College golf

Medlock became a prolific golfer in high school, which led to a college golf scholarship at Samford University, a prestigious Christian school in Birmingham, Alabama.

“I played a lot of junior events when I was growing up,” she said. “I was really committed. I got extremely competitive and did the junior tour in the summer and was on the high school golf team during the school year.”

A few years later, Sallisaw officials built Shadow Creek golf course across the road from Sallisaw Golf & Country Club. Both of the golf courses existed for a period of time, Medlock said.

“When my sister and I were grown and gone, we really didn’t have any reason to stay there,” she said.

Good numbers

Although Medlock said last year’s bowling team was one of her favorite school functions, this year’s squad may be better. For starters, the Airedales have good numbers this year.

Because of COVID-19, there were limited team members in 2020-21.

“I’m sure it was because of COVID, so we struggled to have a full team,” Medlock said. “At the conference (tournament), we even played a coed team because we had five boys and a girl."

The numbers are far different this year.

“We have about 10 girls and 10 boys,” Medlock explained. “We have several freshman boys that have come out for the team.

"I think it’s going to be a good year.”

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Sports, family unit big part of Medlock’s life

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