Paden City Great Remembered
When the phone rings at the office, we all seem to hold our breath wondering who is this one for? There has been a barrage of bad news lately, the calls range from, are schools still closed? Is there going to be a winter sports season? Will we have basketball this year? Did you hear about this or that, or what’s your take on it?
I mean it’s been a tough past year, many of our best athletes were denied the opportunity to showcase their skills. What I have to say is take your skills, your desire to play, your competitive nature and hit the outdoor courts and fields. Never give up playing the game. Life is just too short to give up on something you love. Time that seems like forever when your young soon disappears.
I go back in time now to the late fifties and early sixties. It was a whole different world, we were very young kids growing up with not a care in the world. The farthest thing from my mind was time. I had a love for sports beginning at an early age and it grew stronger as the years went by. I can barely remember the names of some of the top High School athletes in those days, however one really sticks out in my mind, and I’m sure many other people’s as well. Paden City was a thriving little community with nearly 4,500 people, people from many areas moved to town to work in the local factories and give their children the opportunity to attend Paden City schools.
We had great high school athletes and coaches. Paden City was always competitive, and their athletes roamed through town year round hitting the ball courts and empty fields to hone their skills. Our minds as you all will attest were not on causing destruction to our government or any of the other despicable things we see going on today. The goal then was to make Paden City proud, through community involvement, activities, friendships, and supporting our businesses and schools.
One family that we all remember was the Lyle family. It’s my understanding that they moved here from the Pittsburgh area so their father could find work. This was a great family, that we were proud to have in our community and be a part of our lives. There were skilled athletes in the family who became legends in our history.
I can remember watching them play basketball on the outdoor court behind the school. My first encounter with basketball was on that court, there was a group of guys playing a pickup game and they were one man short. I was watching when one said to me, come on, your on our team. One of the Lyle brothers was playing “ACE” as we all know him threw me the ball, I was at the foul line with no one guarding me. I threw it at the basket and it went in. That was when I became a basketball nut.
Ace was the point guard on the Wildcats 1960 Class-A State Basketball team. He was a good one, a hustling defender who could drive the opposing team crazy with his quickness and ball handling ability. He could also score. The team was coached by Henry Healy more known for his high school football coaching, however he formed this team and took them all the way to the state championship game where they defeated Amsted High School on a last second bucket 60-58. The game was played in Morgantown at the old Mountaineer Field House.
Ace was also a member of the Wildcats football teams during their early years as a running back. His younger brother Garry, played some football for Paden City before the family moved back to Pittsburgh. Garry later became an All-Pro defensive back with the Chicago Bears.
Arcelious “Ace” Lyle passed away on January 4, 2021, after he contacted COVID-19. Paden City high school class of 1960 will forever remember Ace and his wonderful athletic achievements while representing Paden City. The community is saddened by the news, but will forever carry forth his memory. One former Paden City athlete said, “Ace made a big impact on our lives”.
The 1960 Class is proud of their Class A basketball champions and the OVAC trophies they brought home. Without Ace it would not have been possible.
In a recent conversation with Garry Lyle he had this to say about Ace. “RC (Ace) was a good person. As a man, he was well grounded, optimistic, always upbeat, and kind. He was fun to be around and I honestly can’t remember ever seeing him mad at anyone. I always thought he should have been in sales cause everyone was always drawn to him.
Clearly, for my family, and especially for his five brothers, he was a trailblazer: a role model to emulate. On a personal level, everything he did, I wanted to do. Everywhere he went, I wanted to go. And while early in life, a three year age difference is huge, occasionally he would tolerate my presence with him & his friends (in sports only). Those were the good old days!
Finally, while I was fortunate to have had a long & fairly successful career in sports, it may not have happened without my big brother RC. Because he’s the person who got me started. He, more than anyone else taught me the fundamentals required for success. He will be sorely missed and all of us loved him dearly.”
Brother Garry and brother David returned to Paden City a couple years back and visited the high school to speak with the Wildcats new head Football Coach Zach Heasley and his 2019 football team. They made the 6 hour trip from Maryland to Wildcat country to fire up the Cats prior to their opening game later that week. Garry gave a great talk about effort, dedication, determination, loyalty, and work ethic. He took questions from coach Heasley and the team and interacted with them for nearly two hours. Sharing with them his experience as a Wildcat during his days in Paden City.
Former Paden City Basketball Coach Bob Burton was there that day and told the story of the Wildcats 1964 undefeated football team that Garry would have played on had he stayed in town. Turned out that Garry went on to play football at George Washington University and found himself playing against WVU and former Paden City Classmate and Alumni Larry Sine.
The community of Paden City extends their deepest condolences to the entire Lyle family at this sad time. We here will celebrate the great friendships we had with Ace and his family, they will always be known as part of the Paden City Family.