Peter “Woody” Kern, former owner of the Tampa Bay Storm, died Tuesday at age 66 in Texas. No cause of death was available.
Kern owned the Storm from 1994 to 2007, winning Arena Football League titles in 1995, 1996 and 2003.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Woody Kern,” Storm president Derrick Brooks said in a statement. “During his time as owner of the Storm, the team won three ArenaBowl Championships helping cement his legacy as one of the greatest owners in league history. He had a tremendous impact on the Arena Football League, and will be missed by all. Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”
Kern, who lived in Pilot Point, Texas, found success in his family’s Ohio nursing home business and expanded the company, becoming owner of Texas Health Enterprises in the 1990s. He also was president of PCK Management of Texas.
Kern purchased the Storm from Bob Gries for a reported $477,000 and hired Tim Marcum as head coach. Marcum, who directed the team during its successful title seasons, died in December after a long illness.
Kern sold the team to local surgeon Robert Nucci for $18.2 million in 2007, but the league shut down and filed for bankruptcy a year later. Investors later restarted the league, but Nucci said in court documents that he lost millions in the purchase.
In addition to the Storm, Kern owned arena football franchises in the Dallas area as well as several minor-league baseball teams.
Kern is survived by two sons, five daughters and five grandchildren.
Arrangements are under the direction of Slay Memorial Funeral Center in Aubrey, Texas.