Businessman, Former Football Star Lyles Dead At 75

Family and friends are remembering longtime Louisville businessman Lenny Lyles, who died yesterday at the age of 75.

Lenny Lyles was also a standout athlete. He was one of the first African-Americans on the University of Louisville football team, where as a running back in the mid-1950s he set a school scoring record.

Lyles also spent 12 years in the National Football League, mostly with the Baltimore Colts.

After retiring from football, Lyles returned to his hometown and developed several west Louisville businesses, including the Lyles Mall.

U of L football Coach Charlie Strong says he struck up a quick friendship with Lyles when he took over the football program.

“This summer we brought back all the former players and I walked him into this building (in the football complex), because I had a mural downstairs that I had of him and I wanted him to see it. And he walked in and he looked up kind of shocked, and he said ‘why did you put me up there?’ I said, ‘you deserve to be up there for what you’ve done for this program,’” Strong said today.

Strong called Lyles an icon and a role model.       

Funeral arrangements were incomplete early this afternoon.

(Photos courtesy of (right) and the University of Louisville)