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Epilogue | George C. Kyle

Epilogue: George C. Kyle, 83, played by rules on and off court

TAMPA — Fans at his basketball games remember George Kyle pacing the sidelines in a coat and tie, yelling instructions to players and chomping on gum.

And, more often than not, winning.

His family is saying goodbye to a dynamo, a husband and father who expected dinner on the table at 6 p.m. and conducted inspections before school.

If your saddle shoes weren't white enough, you had to go back and polish them. Don't want to clean your plate? You'll stay at the dinner table until you do. (Daughter Cheryl once held out until 11 p.m. in a dispute over lima beans.)

Only Mr. Kyle's body could slow his relentless march through life. He died Saturday, eight days after suffering a stroke. He was 83.

A multisport athlete in high school, Mr. Kyle played basketball for the University of West Virginia. As president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, he led parties and panty raids before marrying his college sweetheart.

As coach of Wayne-Woodstock High in Ohio starting in 1953, he coached his basketball team to three consecutive state championships. He came to Tampa in the late 1950s and worked with thousands of students, including future baseball stars like Steve Garvey and Derek Bell.

A former Marine sharpshooter, Mr. Kyle believed in rules. He once suspended a star player and grounded Cheryl for three months, both because they had smoked a cigarette.

For daughters Cheryl and Sheila, he imposed two curfews: 11 p.m. if they had asked him first before agreeing to date a boy; 9 p.m. if they hadn't.

Cheryl Carreno, now 50, remembers pulling up with her date at 10:58 p.m. "Dad was outside in the garage," she said, "his hand leaning up on the garage door. He was tapping his foot."

During and after his coaching career at Oak Grove Junior High, Mr. Kyle volunteered as a football talent scout for Hillsborough high schools.

"He certainly made his contribution to the success of athletics in Hillsborough County," said the Rev. Abe Brown, a former football coach at Blake and Jefferson high schools.

Several years ago, Parkinson's disease strengthened its hold on Mr. Kyle. He moved into Carreno's Tampa home, and roles reversed. Carreno, a nurse, let her father know when it was time to get up or exercise, and not to sneak cookies to his bedroom.

"He said, 'You're just a damn warden!' " Carreno said. "I said, 'Well, you're warden No. 1.' "

The names stuck. To the end, Mr. Kyle was warden No. 1, his daughter was warden No. 2.

"What goes around comes around," she said.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2431.


George C. Kyle

Born: April 11, 1925

Died: July 5, 2008

Survivors: Wife Lois; daughters Sheila Mitrano (Joseph) and Cheryl Carreno (Ray); a son, Jerome Kyle; granddaughter Jessica Maloney.

Service: 6 p.m. today

at Blount & Curry Carrollwood Chapel, 3207 W Bearss Ave., Tampa.

Visitation immediately

following the service.

Epilogue: George C. Kyle, 83, played by rules on and off court 07/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2008 10:18pm]
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