Local Obituaries

Kenny Wilcox, a Boys & Girls Club coach most his life, dies at 57

Kenny Wilcox started going to his neighborhood Boys & Girls Club when he was 7. He never left. When he died, at 57, he was unit director of Miami-Dade’s Northwest Club.
Kenny Wilcox started going to his neighborhood Boys & Girls Club when he was 7. He never left. When he died, at 57, he was unit director of Miami-Dade’s Northwest Club. Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade

Kenny Wilcox spent 50 of his 57 years at the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade.

When one talks of moving up the ranks, Wilcox’s name could be shorthand.

Wilcox became a member of the club’s Hank Kline unit in Coconut Grove when he was 7. He was a starting player on the club’s football, basketball and baseball teams.

At 16, he started working for the Northwest branch doing maintenance. He became a coach, a program director, athletic director and, finally, its unit director.

Wilcox, affectionately known as “Coach Kenny,” died June 11 of an unspecified heart ailment, said administrative assistant Raquel Torres.

“Kenny Wilcox was a friend to all, a great father, husband and a family man,” said Alex Rodriguez-Roig, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. “His dedication to the club for 40 years is unparalleled. He touched many lives and helped thousands. We have lost a family member and heaven has gained an angel.”

Wilcox, born Aug. 15, 1959, to Dorothy Lee Wilcox and the late Calvin Coolidge Wilcox in Coconut Grove, graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 1977. He earned his bachelor’s in business administration from Florida International University.

Mentoring at the Boys & Girls Club was his passion.

In this Sept. 2009 file photo, Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade unit director Kenny Wilcox helps cuts the ribbon at an event at the Northwest Club. James Forbes For the Miami Herald

“Since I can remember Kenny has given it the old G-E-E, giving extra effort in whatever he does,” the late Ramon Granda, an executive director of operations, told the Miami Herald in a 1988 story about Wilcox’s inspiring ways with young people.

Many former club members coached by Wilcox went on to careers in sports. Among them: Killian’s Ricky Blanton, who played for the Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls; Coral Gables’ Van Waiters, a former linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings; and Hialeah-Miami Lakes’ Chris Corchiani, a point guard who played for the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Washington Bullets.

“When Kenny was a coach, he had a way of bringing out the best in you through his own athletic ability and lectures,” Blanton told the Herald in 1988. “He was always firm, but fair.”

Wilcox also spent 17 years with Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner’s Little Scholars Youth Football and Cheer League, where he was vice president for the last four years.

Wilcox’s survivors include his wife Beverly Griffin-Wilcox; mother Dorothy Lee Wilcox; son Kenon Wilcox; stepdaughter Jessica Moses; sister Karen Moore; and brothers Christopher, Paul, Hubert and Herbert Wilcox.

A viewing will be at the Northwest Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade, 10915 NW 14th Ave., from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday. A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 21311 NW 34th Ave., Miami Gardens. A fund has been established to help the family via Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, care of Wilcox Fund.

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen