Saturday, May 19, 2007

Very Sad News 

Posted by James at 2:00 AM ET

I've got some very sad news.

Caroline Wiren, the Tampa Bay Storm's former cheerleading coach and wife of popular linebacker Nyle Wiren, succumbed to excessive bleeding Wednesday in the hours after the birth of their first child, Clay Christian Wiren. She was 34.

Caroline Wiren

The couple was an integral part of both the Storm and the Tampa Bay community: Nyle,a football player, a fan-friendly linebacker/fullback who was well-known for his accessibility in the community, and Caroline, a cheerleader, a former captain of the Rebelettes at Ole 'Miss who went on to dance a couple years for the Buccaneers and then three years for the Storm, where she co-directed the squad.

They were married in March of 2002, in Key West.

"It's such a shocking thing," Storm coach Tim Marcum said after visiting the player he has coached in each of his 10 seasons in the AFL at St. Joseph's Hospital. "So unbelievable. She was so full of energy."

"We were shocked and stunned to receive this news. Our thoughts and prayers are with Caroline's family and friends," USF athletic director Doug Woolard said. "Her dedication and commitment to the SunDolls have meant a great deal, not only to the athletic department, but the entire University of South Florida. She will be greatly missed."

If loved ones had a hat from which to draw words describing Caroline Wiren, one adjective likely would be "driven."

"She was driven and achieved a lot, but she always made the people around her better and driven also," said Chris Still, 38, Caroline's older brother. "She always took time to support others and make them the most they could be also."

He said Caroline's drive surpassed that of himself and sister Cathy Still-Johnson, 36.

Chris then drew upon a memory of Caroline at about 3 years old in Oxford.

"Her legs were crooked, and she had to wear braces all the way up and down her legs, and she clunked around in those braces as a little kid for probably six months," he said. "Who would know that she was ever going to be able to walk straight or do whatever she did?"

What she did was become captain of the University of Mississippi dance team, dance one season for the Storm and serve as the franchise's co-director from 2003 to 2005. She spent two seasons as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader. Before that, Wiren danced for the now-defunct Memphis Pharaohs of the Arena Football League.

The team honored Caroline at Friday night's game by wearing a heart-shaped sticker inscribed with the number 44, Nyle's uniform number.

From the Storm's Press Release:

Palace Sports & Entertainment, Tampa Bay Storm Combine to Assist Wiren Family

PS&E Commits 50% of Remaining Ticket Sales in Caroline Wiren's Honor, Storm Pledges $5,000

Family Fund Being Developed for Newborn Son

Palace Sports & Entertainment, operators of the St. Pete Times Forum, announced today that it will donate 50% of all full-priced ticket sales for the Tampa Bay Storm's final three home games to a fund being established in memory of Caroline Wiren for her newborn son. Wiren, wife of longtime Storm linebacker Nyle Wiren, passed away on Wednesday, May 16.

"Caroline's passing yesterday deeply saddens the Tampa Bay Storm and St. Pete Times Forum families ", said Ron Campbell, President of the St. Pete Times Forum.”Our hearts go out to the Wiren family, her husband Nyle and their new child. We hope this financial support can in some way assist Nyle and his family and as they raise their new baby."

"We're overwhelmed with sadness and sorrow for Nyle and his family with Caroline's passing yesterday," said Peter "Woody" Kern, owner of the Storm. "But the baby's life goes on and we hope to support Nyle and his family as they prepare to raise and develop a beautiful child."

Friends and family of Caroline and Nyle are establishing a fund which will benefit their newborn son. More information on that fund will be released as soon as details are available. A private memorial service for Caroline will take place in her home state of Mississippi.

Caroline Wiren

Condolences and sympathy cards can be sent to: St. Pete Times Forum, c/o Tampa Bay Storm, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602.

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