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Lee and Pat Riley

Wabash Valley profiles : a series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history

Description: One typed page including photographs of Patrick and Lee Riley. Lee was a baseball player and Pat is a NBA coach.
ABASH VALLEY WP R O F I L E SA series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history.Lee and Pat Rileyhen Lee Riley was introduced to Terre Haute baseball fans in February 1949, few recalled that he had earned a "cup of coffee" in major leagues as a utility outfieldercatcher for the 1944 Philadelphia Phillies. A half century later, even fewer local fans remember Lee's youngest son Patrick, a frequent visitor to Terre Haute and Memorial Stadium while his father was field manager for the local Three-I League team. Pat Riley LEE RILEY PAT RILEY was four years old in 1949. Today, he is considered one of the most successful coaches in National Basketball Association history. It is almost an annual ritual for a Riley-coached team to be in the NBA playoffs. This year is no exception. Pat won four league championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, appearing seven times in the NBA Finals. He took the New York Knicks to the finals in 1994, the first time in 21 years. In 1995 he accepted a lucrative coaching contract with the Miami Heat, which included a substantial ownership interest. The Heat has been in the playoffs every year since he assumed command. Riley's success extends beyond the basketball arena. He is an author and a much-sought-after motivational speaker. He credits both of his parents, and particularly his father Lee, for teaching him discipline and bolstering his confidence. The elder Riley was born Leon Francis Riley on Aug. 20, 1906, in Princeton, Neb. He spent 22 years in professional baseball. Though exuding charisma and noticeable leadership qualities, Lee did not reach the major leagues. In 1948 the Phillies assigned the unflappable Riley to manage Bradford (Pa.) in the Pony League. After leading the 1949 Terre Haute Phillies to a third-place finish, he was promoted to Utica (N.Y.) in the Eastern League for the 1950 and 1951 seasons. In 1952 he managed Wilmington (Del.) of the Inter-State League. During the late 1940s, the Rileys established a permanent winter home in Schenectady, N.Y., where his sons -- Lee Jr. and Pat -- were all-around parochial school athletes. A high school quarterback, Pat was offered a football scholarship by Paul "Bear" Bryant to play at Alabama, but chose to play basketball for Adolph Rupp at Kentucky in 1962. Pat was the Wildcats' MVP for three seasons -- including the NCAA runner-up team in 1966 -- was captain as a senior and was a first-round pick by the San Diego Rockets of the NBA in 1967. He was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers 1971-72 championship team. Unfortunately, his father was not around to see him receive a championship ring. Lee died in Schenectady on Sept. 13, 1970, at age 64. Lee Jr. -- 14 years older than Pat -- played college football at the University of Detroit and carved out a seven-year career between 1955 and 1962 as a defensive back in the National and American Football Leagues with the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and New York Jets.WTERRE HAUTE(812) 238-6000NATIONAL BANKAlways Close to HomeDate published: May 18, 2000Filename: Riley, Lee and Pat profile
Origin: 2000-05-17
Created By: McCormick, Mike
Publisher: Terre Haute Tribune-Star
Collection: Vigo County Historical Society
Copyright: Copyright Undetermined
Subjects: Riley, Leon Francis, 1906-1970
Riley, Patrick, b. 1945
Baseball players
Coaches (Athletics)

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