About George Tinsley, Sr.

Speaker, Advisor, and Coach Forged by a Lifetime of Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

FAITH, TENACITY, AND A WHITE-HOT DESIRE TO TURN OBSTACLES INTO OPPORTUNITIES

Image of George Tinsley dressed 1/2 in basketball singlet and 1/2 in business attire.

The story of George Tinsley, Sr’s road to success is a classic rags-to-riches tale. In addition to his impoverished upbringing in the Smoketown area of Louisville, Tinsley overcame numerous obstacles in his formative years, including:

  • From seven months old, he was raised by his elderly and handicapped babysitter.
  • He was encouraged by his teacher to quit school in the 6th grade.

Despite significant obstacles that would derail the growth and development of most, Tinsley persevered. He discovered athletic gifts that led him to obtain an athletic scholarship to attend college. In college, he found his academic abilities to complement his athletic talent. After playing pro basketball, Tinsley leveraged the leadership skills he developed from his athletic career, intellect, and positive attitude to become a successful business and civic leader.

EARLY OBSTACLES

image of young boy playing basketbal

George Penebaker, later known as Tinsley, was born in 1946 and grew up in Smoketown, a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother left him in the care of an elderly woman named Willie Tinsley when he was 7 months old. Willie Tinsley raised him in her small one-room home after his mother never returned.

When Tinsley was 13, Willie Tinsley passed away, and he was taken in by her son and daughter-in-law. Tinsley struggled with self-esteem and was an average student but excelled in athletics, playing basketball, football, and running track. Teachers and coaches took an interest in him and guided him due to his athletic skills, big smile, and great personality.

ATHLETIC SUCCESS

image of Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame Award to George Tinsely.

Tinsley’s athletic skills, height, and personality helped him build relationships in his neighborhood and school. He was an average student but an above-average athlete. He received several scholarship offers in basketball and track when he graduated high school in 1965 and was the first in his family to do so.

He accepted a basketball scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he led his basketball team to a national championship in his freshman year. During his college career, Tinsley led Ky. Wesleyan College to win three NCAA Division II Basketball Championships out of four appearances in the NCAA finals.

The success of the first NCAA Division II Championship brought him new confidence and unexpected rewards, including opportunities to travel to Europe and West Africa with his team to teach basketball and perform as goodwill ambassadors for the United States of America.

In 1976, Ky. Wesleyan College named Tinsley their Greatest Basketball Player in the history of the college. Additionally, Tinsley has been inducted into numerous athletic halls of fame.

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Image of George Tinsley accepting an honorary degree.

Tinsley’s first year at Kentucky Wesleyan College was a turning point in his focus on academics.  He quickly learned that he had to perform equally as hard off the court academically as he did on the court athletically.  He started his academic success by making his college’s Dean’s list. He also received the prestigious Oak & Ivy Award for academic success, recognizing him as one of the top students as a senior.

BUSINESS SUCCESS

image of George Tinsley receiving KFC award.

After his professional basketball career, Tinsley worked as a coach and school teacher, later as a trainer with Colonel Harlan Sanders, and as a KFC Corporate executive for eight years, all of which he developed his leadership and organizational skills to building and leading two companies that operated multiple franchises and licensed businesses in Florida and Kentucky. Tinsley has won numerous awards and honors in the hospitality industry during his 35-plus years in business and community involvement.

Tinsley is a sought-after motivational speaker, coach, and consultant and has been featured in local and national media. Tinsley’s corporate office is located in Winter Haven, Florida.

PERSONAL AND FAMILY SUCCESS

Image of George Tinsley with his wife, daughter, and son.

George Tinsley Sr. values family above all else.

He married his college sweetheart, Seretha, and together they have been married for over 38 years, raising their two adult children, Penni and George II. Tinsley strongly believes that the family that works together stays together and has included his children in his business operations since they were young.

The Tinsley’s started their restaurant business with a KFC franchise in Auburndale, Florida in 1984, which provided an opportunity for Penni and George II to learn the value of hard work and ethics and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Today, Penni and George II are part of the Tinsley Family Business and play significant roles of responsibility.

The Tinsleys have 22 godchildren, three of whom are involved in the family businesses, while the others have gone on to achieve success in their own endeavors. George and Seretha continue to diversify and develop their family businesses, which started with PenGeo, Inc., named after their children.

FAITH, TENACITY, AND A WHITE-HOT DESIRE TO TURN OBSTACLES INTO OPPORTUNITIES

The story of George Tinsley, Sr’s road to success is a classic rags-to-riches tale. In addition to his impoverished upbringing in the Smoketown area of Louisville, Tinsley overcame numerous obstacles in his formative years, including:

  • From seven months old, he was raised by his elderly and handicapped babysitter.
  • He was encouraged by his teacher to quit school in the 6th grade.

 

Despite significant obstacles that would derail the growth and development of most, Tinsley persevered. He discovered athletic gifts that led him to obtain an athletic scholarship to attend college. In college, he found his academic abilities to complement his athletic talent. After playing pro basketball, Tinsley leveraged the leadership skills he developed from his athletic career, intellect, and positive attitude to become a successful business and civic leader.
image of young boy playing basketbal

EARLY OBSTACLES

George Penebaker, later known as Tinsley, was born in 1946 and grew up in Smoketown, a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother left him in the care of an elderly woman named Willie Tinsley when he was 7 months old. Willie Tinsley raised him in her small one-room home after his mother never returned.

When Tinsley was 13, Willie Tinsley passed away, and he was taken in by her son and daughter-in-law. Tinsley struggled with self-esteem and was an average student but excelled in athletics, playing basketball, football, and running track. Teachers and coaches took an interest in him and guided him due to his athletic skills, big smile, and great personality.

ATHLETIC SUCCESS

Tinsley’s athletic skills, height, and personality helped him build relationships in his neighborhood and school. He was an average student but an above-average athlete. He received several scholarship offers in basketball and track when he graduated high school in 1965 and was the first in his family to do so.

He accepted a basketball scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he led his basketball team to a national championship in his freshman year. During his college career, Tinsley led Ky. Wesleyan College to win three NCAA Division II Basketball Championships out of four appearances in the NCAA finals.

The success of the first NCAA Division II Championship brought him new confidence and unexpected rewards, including opportunities to travel to Europe and West Africa with his team to teach basketball and perform as goodwill ambassadors for the United States of America.

In 1976, Ky. Wesleyan College named Tinsley their Greatest Basketball Player in the history of the college. Additionally, Tinsley has been inducted into numerous athletic halls of fame.

Image of hall of fame award
Image of George Tinsley accepting an honorary degree.

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Tinsley’s first year at Kentucky Wesleyan College was a turning point in his focus on academics. He quickly learned that he had to perform equally as hard off the court academically as he did on the court athletically. He started his academic success by making his college’s Dean’s list. He also received the prestigious Oak & Ivy Award for academic success, recognizing him as one of the top students as a senior.

BUSINESS SUCCESS

After his professional basketball career, Tinsley worked as a coach and school teacher, later as a trainer with Colonel Harlan Sanders, and as a KFC Corporate executive for eight years, all of which he developed his leadership and organizational skills to building and leading two companies that operated multiple franchises and licensed businesses in Florida and Kentucky. Tinsley has won numerous awards and honors in the hospitality industry during his 35-plus years in business and community involvement.

Tinsley is a sought-after motivational speaker, coach, and consultant and has been featured in local and national media. Tinsley’s corporate office is located in Winter Haven, Florida.

image of George Tinsley receiving KFC award.

PERSONAL AND FAMILY SUCCESS

George Tinsley Sr. values family above all else.

He married his college sweetheart, Seretha, and together they have been married for over 38 years, raising their two adult children, Penni and George II. Tinsley strongly believes that the family that works together stays together and has included his children in his business operations since they were young.

The Tinsley’s started their restaurant business with a KFC franchise in Auburndale, Florida in 1984, which provided an opportunity for Penni and George II to learn the value of hard work and ethics and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Today, Penni and George II are part of the Tinsley Family Business and play significant roles of responsibility.

The Tinsleys have 22 godchildren, three of whom are involved in the family businesses, while the others have gone on to achieve success in their own endeavors. George and Seretha continue to diversify and develop their family businesses, which started with PenGeo, Inc., named after their children.

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