Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Sports

Title-winning former Jesuit coach Minihan dies at 84

TAMPA — He earned his moniker honestly. "Wild" Bill Minahan's bark was passionate, piercing, occasionally profane. Depending on the recipient, it could irritate, intimidate or initiate.

But mostly, it inspired. Just ask any Jesuit High alumnus who would give his letterman's jacket this morning to hear just one more "Wild Bill" diatribe.

"Other than my own father, the greatest man I have ever known," Plant football coach and Jesuit alumnus Robert Weiner said.

A Marine and former University of Tampa quarterback who coached Jesuit to the 1968 Class A state title, Mr. Minahan died Monday evening at Tampa General Hospital at 84.

The kidney he had received via transplant nearly 28 years before finally had failed him after a recent blood cancer diagnosis.

"He lived a great life," said Billy Minahan, one of his three children. "It was just time. He was worn out. He's resting now and he doesn't have to worry about doing any machines, dialysis, or taking medication."

When kidney problems forced him to retire as Jesuit coach in 1985, Mr. Minahan — born May 2, 1929 in Johnstown, Pa. — had established himself as a local prep sports icon, with coaching stops at Plant, Jefferson and Jesuit.

His influence seemingly reached every nook of the area.

"He inspired me," said Mike Boza, who played three seasons of football for Mr. Minahan, succeeded him as Jesuit athletic director, and later won four state titles as Tigers cross country coach.

"He caught most of us at an age in our lives when we were trying to form into something. Many of us were looking for some direction and he gave it to us. It's something usually only a father can do, but for a lot of boys that's not always possible for different reasons. He did it for hundreds, maybe thousands."

Though innovative strategically, especially in the passing game and the use of tight ends, Mr. Minahan's greatest strength was his ability to motivate.

Even with his growl and flat-top haircut, he possessed a gift for endearing himself to kids instead of running them off. Survivors earned a patriarch for life.

"Everybody loved to play for him," said Berkeley Prep coach Dominick Ciao, who joined Mr. Minahan's staff as an offensive line assistant in 1979 and replaced him as coach seven years later.

"He could get the most out of his players and coaches because no one ever wanted to let him down. Because they loved him so much."

In 20 seasons at Jesuit, Mr. Minahan was 132-78-2, highlighted by the 39-25 victory against Lakeland Kathleen in the '68 Class A state final at old Tampa Stadium — the first football title for Hillsborough County and first in the Tampa Bay area.

He remained visible at Jesuit and later Plant, where he had coached early in his career. The current Panthers staff is rife with Mr. Minahan's proteges including Weiner, defensive coordinator John Few and Billy Minahan.

"Very few people in this world live what they preach; God first, respect all, live life to the fullest and let those you love know it," Few said. "He was in a position to touch thousands of lives and he did."

Mr. Minahan is survived by his wife of 28 years, Martha, a former Jesuit geometry teacher, and children. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Comments
Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Vita VeaPosition: Defensive tackleSchool: WashingtonHeight/weight: 6-4, 347Draft projection: Round 1Why Vita Vea makes sense for the Bucs: Vea's combination of size and quick feet is rare. He ran a 5.1 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 40 tim...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
USF extends Mark Harlan’s contract

USF extends Mark Harlan’s contract

As expected, USF athletic director Mark Harlan has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the school through the 2020-21 school year.Harlan recently entered the final year of the original five-year deal he signed in March 2014 that paid hi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

The final days leading up to the NFL draft can be a busy time, but rarely do you call someone you trust from a team and say: "What can you tell me about the parrot?"Yes, the Bucs will have a parrot — specifically a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A surf champ from Florida’s West Coast? Believe it

A surf champ from Florida’s West Coast? Believe it

The surfers got on their boards, ready to ride the waves at New Smyrna Beach.These were not the conditions that left boards shattered or bodies battered. After all, this is the land of thigh-high surf. The peaks were well-defined but only produced ab...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Bucs are 22-42 under GM Jason Licht. Does he deserve another draft?

The Bucs are 22-42 under GM Jason Licht. Does he deserve another draft?

The Bucs have finished last in their division in three of the past four seasons.They have lost more games than all but four teams.They have not played in a single playoff game.Players have come and gone. So have coaches.But one man has overseen it al...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

For months, NFL fans have wondered what the Bucs might do with the No. 7 pick in Thursday's draft, producing a wide range of answers, each with passionate support from some of their fans.But as draft nears, and as the interest level in a talented gro...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

So much of the attention Monday surrounding the Bucs' announcing who'd be announcing their late-round draft picks was, of course, that a parrot would be delivering the name of the fourth-round pick to the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium.But late...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

On today's Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the NFL draft with the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer.Farmer coordinates a mock draft with beat writers around the league, and it's usually one of the most accurate prognostications...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pitching, defense bring Carrollwood Day to the top in Class 3A

Pitching, defense bring Carrollwood Day to the top in Class 3A

TAMPA — The momentum for Carrollwood Day School's baseball team has grown as the kids have grown the past three or four years — stronger, faster and smarter.The Patriots, in fact, have grown into a relative beast, racking up the best reco...
Updated: 5 hours ago
How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils short-handed

How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils short-handed

TAMPA — The Lightning rolled past the Devils in five games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs quarterfinal series largely because the penalty kill became a beast, killing off 16 of 19, including the final 15 when down a man.Two of those three goals al...
Updated: 5 hours ago