Rattler baseball legend dies at 75

Costa “Pop” Kittles, one of the “fathers of Rattler baseball,” died Friday morning after suffering a heart attack.

He was 75.

“He was an outstanding Rattler in every sense of the word,” President Fred Gainous said in a press release. “Coach Kittles will certainly be missed by all of the Florida A&M University family.”

Kittles played football and baseball while he attended FAMU.

He graduated in 1951 and from the Ohio State University in 1953.

He came back to his alma mater as a baseball coach in 1960, succeeding his baseball coach Oscar Moore.

In his time at FAMU, he became the first baseball coach to win a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.

Kittles retired from coaching in 1982 and from his position as an assistant professor in health, physical education and recreation in 1985.

In 1999, the men’s baseball field was renamed the Moore-Kittles field for Kittles and his mentor Moore.

Kittles and his wife established the Emma and Costa Kittles Scholarship in Human Sciences endowment at Florida State University.

“This is a tremendous loss for the Florida A&M family,” Interim Athletic Director J.R.E. Lee III said in a press release. “He was highly committed not only to athletics but the university as well.”

Marlon A. Walker can be reached at marlonawalker@aol.com.