coaching legend Wiles dies
He certainly was the winningest.
On Friday, Wiles died at Gaston Memorial Hospital. He was 82.
People at that school, particularly his players, admired and respected him so very much, said teaching and coaching colleague Joe Spears of old Mount Holly High School, which closed and consolidated with old Stanley High to form East Gaston High School following the 1971-72 school year. He was just a silent leader for our school and our community and somebody all the kids in the school looked up to.
Wiles coaching record speaks for itself, as he guided Hawks football teams to a 86-30-5 record with two state titles and seven conference titles and Hawks baseball teams to a 104-48 record and seven conference titles.
A former semipro baseball star in the old Western Carolina League and a United State Marines veteran, Wiles graduated from Kannapolis old Cannon High School and Wofford College. Wiles, inducted into the Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and one of two inaugural inductees of the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame last April, also coached at East Gaston and Central Cabarrus high schools after Mount Holly was closed as a high school. At East Gaston, Wiles was the Warriors first head baseball coach.
Spears coached offensive and defensive line for Wiles football teams, who were always known for their tremendous physical condition and well-schooled in running the old single-wing offensive formation.
The thing I learned most from him was how he taught fundamentals, said Spears, who also coached Mount Holly Highs girls basketball teams. He was a terrific fundamental coach.
According to his players, he also was father figure.
He was like a dad to me, said one of Wiles top former athletes, Bruce Bolick. Its a big loss for me personally and for the entire Mount Holly High sports community.
Ironically, Wiles death came one day before Bolick was one of nine inaugural inductees into North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame today in Boone - or a profession Bolick chose in large part because of his connection to Wiles.
He was just an old-school coach who influenced so many people in a positive way, said Bolick, who played football and baseball at Mount Holly and later coached those two sports at nearby East Lincoln High. He was very demanding of his players but he was also very dear to his players.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at First Baptist Church in Mount Holly, with the funeral being held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the same location.
Wiles, preceded in death by one brother, is survived by his wife Mary Elizabeth Wiles, brother Bill Wiles, sister Rhumel Templeton, children Gehrig (and wife Dorothy), Kristen (and husband Dr. Lee Beatty), Karen (and husband Tim Hope), Mark (and wife Tracy), Kevin (and wife Teresa) and Clint (and wife Lisa), 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Memorials can be made to the First Baptist Church Building Fund, 300 S. Main St., Mount Holly, N.C. 28120, and condolence messages can be to the family at www.woodlawnfuneral.com.