Saturday, May 26, 2018
News Roundup

Longtime Jesuit High football coach Bill Minahan remembered as generous, passionate

TAMPA — Near the end of his eulogy for Bill Minahan on Saturday, Plant High football coach Robert Weiner stepped from the pulpit and transformed the standing-room-only throng inside Christ the King Catholic Church into a personal pre-game locker room.

With gravel in his voice and a gleam in his eye, Weiner walked down part of one aisle. He talked about personal responsibility and loyalty, about how tough people outlast tough times, and about generosity.

Just the way "Wild Bill" preached it to legions of kids for decades.

"The greatest man that's ever touched young people's lives that there's ever been," Weiner said.

Variants of that sentiment about Minahan — universally known as "Wild Bill" — were echoed during an 80-minute service on a cool, overcast South Tampa morning.

A Hillsborough County prep football icon who earned his greatest acclaim as Jesuit High School's coach for 20 seasons (1966-85), Minahan died Monday at Tampa General Hospital. He was 84. The new kidney he received in March 1986 — expected to last only five years — endured for nearly 28.

Mourners included an array of Jesuit sports alumni including Atlanta Falcons president/CEO Rich McKay and Columbia Restaurant president Richard Gonzmart, as well as former Hillsborough County athletic directors Wayne Williamson and Vernon Korhn.

Following Weiner (Jesuit, Class of 1983) as eulogists were Dominick Ciao, who replaced Minahan as Tigers coach in 1986, and Minahan's son Billy.

"From 1986 to Dec. 30, 2013, coach played for a championship every single day," said Ciao, who now coaches Berkeley Prep. "And every single day, he found a way to win."

When winning became too tiresome, Minahan — a Marine and Korean War veteran — went out on his own terms. A recent blood cancer diagnosis had forced him back on several medications, as well as a dialysis machine 11 hours a night.

"It's pretty amazing, because here he is in my eyes, the iron man," said Billy Minahan, one of his three children. "I can't tell you one time that, no matter what he went through, did I ever hear him complain.

"And here he is, he decides when his time's up. It takes an unbelievable amount of courage to do that. We were sitting there and he said, 'I've had a good life. It's time to go.' "

As the end drew nearer, Mr. Minahan had his final game plan in order. On Christmas Day, he told Weiner he wanted a "big" sendoff with a front-page story on his death.

He got both.

On Saturday, about 1,200 mourners heard little about his 132 victories at Jesuit (including Hillsborough County's first state title in 1968), his proficiency as a University of Tampa quarterback in the early '50s, or his induction into four sports halls of fame.

Instead, they were reminded of his boundless generosity, salty speeches and searing passion. They heard of his loyalty to players and peers, and his devotion to wife Martha, whom he courted while she was still a Jesuit geometry teacher.

Ciao recalled this exchange with his old boss: "Dom, I'm being as honest as honest can be: Martha, she saved my life.'"

Reciprocally, he spent decades trying to save others. Mourners were urged to contribute to the LifeLink Legacy Fund, in honor of the couple's championing of organ donation from practically the moment Minahan received his own transplant.

As they exited Saturday, an organist performed The Battle Hymn of the Republic. In a small courtyard outside, a lone bagpipe player performed Amazing Grace.

"This isn't about football, this is about the power to change lives," Ciao said. "Coach had the power to change lives."

 
Comments
Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

I may have cracked the code. Found a way to sell doing the right thing. Discovered a method of persuasion in certain matters of fairness, conscience and the greater good.Like giving our fellow Americans a second chance.When morality-based arguments d...
Published: 05/26/18
Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

By Joey JohnstonTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough deserved better Friday. But the offense didn't offer much, allowing the Orioles to escape with a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 11,354 at Tropicana Field."It ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG – In January, sure.In July, absolutely.But, now?And, once again, for someone who they hope helps in the future.The Rays made a shocking trade at a surprising time of year Friday, dealing All-Star closer Alex Colome and Tampa...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said Thursday, one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the C...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still can’t stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still can’t stop bad judgment

It’s human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Updated: 8 hours ago
In federal trial, jury finds Hernando deputies’ actions justified

In federal trial, jury finds Hernando deputies’ actions justified

TAMPA — Michael Bratt told a story.He said that Hernando County sheriff’s deputies attacked him in his home early one morning eight years ago, beat him severely on his front lawn, and continued the assault as they took him to a hospital.But another s...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

The 18-year-old who was arrested this week after police said he was racing when he fatally struck a young mother pushing her stroller across Bayshore Boulevard was back in jail on Friday night.Cameron Herrin, 18, was arrested on a second count of veh...
Updated: 8 hours ago
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Updated: 11 hours ago