Kindle remembered kindly in Tampa Tribune

By WALT BELCHER The Tampa Tribune

Andy Kindle often recalled that the toughest challenge in his career as a television sports director was the 1988 “fog bowl” in Chicago. That NFL playoff game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles was his first major directing assignment for CBS Sports. The day of his big break, a thick fog settled on Soldier Field, limiting visibility to about 14 feet.

“It must have been a nightmare, but Andy held that game together, shooting it ground level and making him a part of football history,” said Bob Fishman, a longtime CBS Sports senior director.

Kindle, who won 14 national Emmys during a 22-year career with CBS Sports and Fox Sports, died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 60.

Kindle, who lived on Davis Islands, retired in May. He was born in St. Louis and grew up in Centralia, Ill.

He served in Vietnam in naval aerial intelligence before coming to Tampa in 1971 to be a sports producer at WLCY, Channel 10 (later WTSP). He also worked at St. Petersburg’s WTOG, Channel 44, in the mid-1970s as the station’s sports director.

In 1980, he joined CBS Sports, where he produced and directed events for the network’s Saturday-Sunday anthology series. They included World Cup skiing, the World Speed Skating Championships, the Pan American Games and the Tour de France.

He is credited with co-creating CBS Sports’ Tour de France coverage, for which he won a Directors Guild of America Award in 1986.

Kindle also directed CBS Sports’ late-night broadcasts, including the Olympics and closing ceremonies at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

Other credits include directing NCAA regular season and tournament basketball, the NBA playoffs and the Super Bowl XXVI halftime segment.

In a 1989 interview with the Tribune, Kindle recalled his most precipitant challenges: the “fog bowl” and the game with the most snow, a blizzard that dropped 18 inches of flakes on a Green Bay Packers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game.

“Now that I’ve directed a history-making fog bowl and a history-making snow bowl, what’s next? The earthquake bowl?” he said.

Kindle joined Fox Sports in 1994 and continued to direct NFL games. He also owned a Tampa-based company that produced sports coverage and documentaries for cable television networks.

“He was always upbeat and happy and always had a smile,” said Ed Goren, president of Fox Sports.

Goren, who once worked at CBS, said Kindle was “always looking to get better at his craft, and he never was satisfied with the ordinary. He wanted to make the visual experience better for the viewers.”

“He was a lifelong friend,” said WFLA-TV anchorman Bill Ratliff, who knew Kindle for 30 years. “He traveled around the world, but he loved coming home to Tampa. One thing I admired about him most was that he was one of the top directors in the country, but he wanted to be here near his children.”

His son, Ryan, video director for Idlewild Baptist Church, said his father loved television.

“He had 15 TV sets, and he could follow the action on every one of them. Television was his life,” he said.

Even after retirement, his father remained active in production and still had a contract to direct the preseason games for the Minnesota Vikings.


BORN: April 28, 1946, St. Louis

DIED: March 24, 2007, Tampa

SURVIVORS: Son, Ryan of Tampa; daughter, Alison of Sarasota; mother, Betty of Centralia, Ill; brother, Newton; and four grandchildren

SERVICES: A gathering is planned for 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 3207 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Davis Islands Baptist Church.

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