A Canadian cricket stalwart has passed on. Jack Kyle, who served as Cricket Canada’s president for 15 years up until November 1993 and was a long-time junior coach, died last week in his home province of British Columbia.
During his tenure as president, coaching and umpire certification programs were enhanced, trust funds were established to assist with coaching, youth development and overseas high performance opportunities, the sport’s visibility improved immeasurably and Canada played a lead role in the sport being part of the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia.
He also started kanga ball cricket programs in British Columbia which spread to other provinces.
Cricket Canada’s general secretary Calvin Clarke, who recently surpassed Kyle as the national body’s longest serving executive member in one position, met him for the first time at the 1979 annual general meeting in B.C.
“We had remained friends since,” said Clarke. “Jack was very keen about what he wanted to do and he always adopted a methodical approach to everything connected to the sport. He also enjoyed working with young people and was out coaching youth right up until his death.”
Former Cricket Canada president, Dr. Geoff Edwards, said the country has lost a cricket giant.
“Jack was the hardest working volunteer of the sport and no one will ever come close to touching the contributions he made to the game,” said Edwards who served as president up until 2003. “He gave his life to the sport in an unimaginable way.”
Kyle started playing cricket at age nine at Maple Grove School following a visit by Hall-of-Famer Basil Robinson who helped introduce the game to the University of British Columbia in 1938. An outstanding batsman, Kyle was the province’s top run producer in eight years in the 1950s and early 1960s and he represented B.C. in five national championships with a top score of 98 in 1955. His highest individual score was 130 against the Canadian Colts in 1960.
He played his last match in 1993 and was honoured with an International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Region Lifetime Achievement Award eight years ago.
“Jack was the last man standing of a cadre of dedicated and hardworking devotees of cricket whose relentless and indomitable spirit is unparalleled,” said former B.C. cricket director and national cricket manager, Ben Seebaran. “His energy and passion for coaching was tireless and never ending. He was training a group of youngsters’ just hours before he passed away.”
Growing up, Kyle was a very versatile athlete. He represented Kitsilano High School at cricket, soccer, basketball and track and field and he also played lawn and table tennis, badminton, golf, baseball, softball, field hockey and five-pin bowling.
In 1967, Kyle started coaching youth soccer and cricket and was the Vancouver youth cricket league coordinator and the founder of a cricket summer camp before former Cricket Canada director, Karam Gopaulsingh, asked him to become the national junior coordinator in 1975. He ran successful coaching clinics in eastern and western Canada and brought three coaches to Canada before replacing John Cole as Cricket Canada’s president.
“Jack was a giant of a man,” said former Cricket Canada treasurer, Ed Bracht. “When he took over as president, he brought an organization that was at the time staid and moribund back to life against all odds. He had a positive attitude, boundless energy, contagious enthusiasm and above all he was blessed with a sense of honesty and fairness.”
Kyle is survived by his wife Patricia and their four sons.
By RON FANFAIR