Although Carroll McMath's parents lived in Carrollton, Mrs. McMath chose Baylor Hospital in Dallas for Carroll's place of birth, which was June 29, 1919. Following the death of his mother, Carroll and his father moved to Lubbock County in 1924, where he attended the two-teacher school, Southwest Ward. He also attended Lubbock Jr. High, and was in the first class to enter the new Lubbock High School building in 1931. In the summer of 1927, while visiting in Denton, Carroll began piano lessons, and again while visiting in Denton in the summer of 1932, he began trumpet studies on a $10 King trumpet! He joined the Lubbock High School Band in the fall of 1932 under the direction of H. A. Anderson. He graduated from Lubbock High in 1934. He planned to attend Hardin-Simmons University, but changed plans and enrolled in Texas Tech in the fall of 1934, after D. O. Wiley came to Tech as band director. Carroll' s father died in 1935, and D. O. Wiley played an important personal role in Carroll's life as well as a key role in his music education. Carroll changed his major from journalism to band in his sophomore year at Tech. He participated in the first Tech Summer Band School for high school directors, high school students, and college students. In the fall of 1937, he became a charter member and Vice-President of Alpha Omicron Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Band Fraternity. Also in the fall of 1937 he wrote the words for a new Texas Tech fight song, which is still in use today. Carroll did his student teaching with the Lubbock High School Band in the spring of 1938. He graduated from Texas Tech in 1938 with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a Band major degree.
Carroll' s first band directing job was at Texhoma, Oklahoma, where he was also principal, band bus driver, and at various times taught Agriculture, Woodwork, Arithmetic, Geography and Reading. In the summer of 1939, he attended Panhandle A & M College in Goodwell, Oklahoma, and in the summer of 1940, he accepted a part-time job as Denton High School band director. He also attended North Texas State Teachers College and earned a Master of Music degree in June 1941. He later did post-graduate work at North Texas, and earned a Supervisor's Certificate from the Texas Education Agency. In 1941, he was employed full-time by Denton ISD, teaching all band classes and one class of world history at Denton Junior High.
In September 1942, Carroll enlisted in the U. S. Navy as a musician. He served until November at naval training stations at Farragut Idaho, and Newport, Rhode Island, aboard the U.S.S. Guam, and on the business staff of the Navy Music School in Washington D.C. After he was discharged from the Navy, he finished the 1945-46 school year as high school band director at Hereford, Texas, succeeding the late Ralph Smith, Sr., father of another Phi Beta Mu Hall Of Fame honoree, Ralph Smith, Jr.. In 1946, Carroll returned to Denton High School as band director. In 1955, the first assistant was employed and in 1960, Carroll was designated Director of Instrumental Music.
During Carroll's tenure at Denton High School, the band was recognized for many outstanding achievements. The high school band won 15 UIL Sweepstakes awards, plus many, many other superior and outstanding ratings at different festivals and contests throughout Texas and Oklahoma. The band participated in six of the first Cotton Bowl Parades in Dallas, and in the 1965 half-time show. There were 73 members of the Denton Band selected to membership in the All-State Band or Orchestra while Carroll was director. A number of his graduates have become successful band and orchestra directors, and others play professionally in various music fields and in U. S. service bands.
Carroll is a member of TMEA and has been active in TMEA affairs, serving as regional officer and contest chairman. He is a honorary lifetime member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu, and has served two terms as national director. He is a member of TBA, Texas State Teachers Association, and National Education Association. He was featured in the January, 1942 School Musician magazine on the page entitled "They Are Making America Musical". He was selected by the Denton public schools as "Teacher of the Year" in 1972-73, and was one of the finalists for Texas "Teacher of the Year" the same year. In 1962, a group of band members announced the beginning of the Carroll McMath Music Scholarship Fund. Since that time, scholarships have been awarded to Denton High graduating seniors nearly every year.
Carroll is author of an article entitled "Band Manual, A Key to Building Better Bands", which discusses the manual used by his Denton bands. He also co-authored with Harold Gore "Band Methods and Collections, An Annotated Guide", this is an analysis of more than 400 band methods and collections. Carroll retired from teaching in July, 1977. He was honored at the halftime of a Denton football game on September 16, 1977 by the band, football team, and band parents. The mayor designated that day as "Carroll McMath Day"' in Denton. Carroll McMath is truly an outstanding musician, director, and a most admired man.