He’s the face of American football in Britain – but he changed the face of another American game – basketball – on these shores forever.
Kevin Cadle is the most decorated basketball coach in British history, and it all started in Falkirk.
He put his memoirs down in print with former Falkirk Herald Sports Editor Paul New who covered Cadle’s early days in Britain with Team Solripe.
Now, more than 30 years later, the pair have joined together again for ‘The Cadle Will Rock’ a biography of the Sky sports presenter and award-winning coach.
“It was an incredible journey,” Cadle told The Falkirk Herald this week.
“Who knew back then when I arrived in Falkirk – a place I’d never heard of - that I’d be a resident of the UK with all these years later and broadcasting the NFL here.
“I’d only left the States once – to play basketball in communist Poland, and that’s how I was prepared for Falkirk and Scotland to be! But there was electricity! And once I got over the language barrier... I was fine.”
Inspired by Penn State graduate Cadle, Solripe ended Edinburgh-based Murray International Metals dominance of the sport in Scotland.
Author Paul explained: “Team Solripe really captured a period in time for Falkirk. That was just what you did on a Sunday, you headed down to Coasters for the basketball.
“Kevin was only there two years, but what a two years it was. Then he went on to achieve great things in basketball and of course moved into television. “There was a story there that deserved to be told.”
The book was born out of a Team Solripe reunion three years ago when legends like Cadle and Bobby Kinzer returned to town for one night to celebrate the team.
“I’d written bits and pieces over the years, noting thoughts down, memories so I wouldn’t forget and they were typed up by various secretaries at my teams over the years,” admitted Cadle. “That gave Paul a starting point and we just went from there. It’s been an incredible journey man, I had a wonderful time in Falkirk and was lucky enough to share it with my old college room-mate, my buddy and friend for life, Bobby Kinzer.”
Cadle arrived in Britain from upstate New York where he grew up a Buffalo Bills fan and collected autographs of the now notorious OJ Simpson.
“To watch, football has always been my favourite. To play and to coach, it’s basketball,” he added.
Cadle moved on from Solripe which at times was turbulent with one tale from the book standing out when the outgoing chairman demanded club cars be returned to sponsors and Cadle’s team-talk on the matchday was to instruct his players to hide them around housing estates in town to try to keep hold of them.
He went on from that comical escapade and a turbulence off-court where Solripe changed hands three times in two years, to Kingston where he coached more than double the European basketball ties than his nearest rival to the record, to the London Towers and internationally with Scotland, England and Team GB in the Barcelona Olympics qualifying tournament.
Cadle’s success and the thrill of basketball obviously rubbed off on New as he now coaches the sport in Morpeth near Newcastle, where he is based and still working as a journalist.
“As my career progressed from Falkirk Herald on to the Edinburgh Evening News then on to Newcastle I did less and less writing as I became deputy sports editor and sports editor.
“But this book has changed my outlook again and I’ve realised how much I enjoy writing again. I didn’t want it to simply be Kevin’s thoughts. I hope I’ve captured his character and presence with the stories and input from a lot of other people which gives a sense of just what he has achieved in basketball in Britain.
“It’s been complete for two weeks now – but already I feel there’s a hole. It has consumed a lot of the past 18 months, but it’s been one of the best things I’ve done in my life.