LOCAL OBITUARIES

PASSINGS: Joe Restic, Lenny Lyles

Joe Restic

Longtime Harvard football coach

Joe Restic, 85, who won or tied for five Ivy League football championships during 23 years as coach at Harvard University, died Thursday at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, the university announced. The cause was not given.

Restic coached the Crimson from 1971 through 1993. He retired as the winningest football coach in Harvard history, with a record of 117-97-6. Tim Murphy passed that this season at 120-59 after his team went 9-1.

"Success is not what the players on my team do on the field, but what they are doing five years after they leave here," Restic told the Boston Globe in 1993. "If I can have an impact in helping them along, that's what means the most to me."

Restic served as an assistant coach at Brown from 1956 to '58 and at Colgate from 1959 to '61. He spent the next nine seasons as a coach with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, three as head coach, before moving on to Harvard.

He is credited with creating the multiflex offense, which used complex routes, blocking techniques and last-second changes in formation to keep opposing defenses on edge.

Restic was born July 21, 1926, in Emeigh Run, Pa., and graduated from Villanova University in 1952. He was a wide receiver and defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1952 and played baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. During World War II he served in an Army counterintelligence unit.

Lenny Lyles

Player helped break pro football's color barrier

Lenny Lyles, 75, a former NFL defensive back and kick returner for the Baltimore Colts and San Francisco 49ers who helped break pro football's color barrier as one of the league's early black players, died Nov. 20 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., the 49ers announced Monday. No other details were provided.

Lyles was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1958 draft out of Louisville and spent 10 of his 12 seasons with the Colts, interrupted by a two-year stint with the 49ers in 1959 and '60. He was one of six black players for the 1958 Colts, who defeated the New York Giants in overtime, 23-17, in that season's NFL championship game, often described as the greatest game in league history.

He retired in 1969, finishing his career with 2,161 return yards and an average of 26.7 yards per return.

A running back at Louisville, Lyles remains the school's all-time scoring leader for a non-kicker with 300 points. He also ran track.

Lyles was born Jan. 26, 1936, in Nashville. After football, he spent 27 years as an executive with Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. in Louisville.

Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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