ADRIAN, Mich.--Former Bulldog men's basketball scoring star Mike Riley '01 will be one of five individuals--plus the 2007-08 NCAA men's hockey team--to be the latest class of inductees enshrined in the Adrian College Athletics Hall of Fame. The Adrian College Athletic Department, in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations, will honor them in a dinner ceremony on Friday (6 p.m.) in the Tobias Center of Ritchie Hall as part of Homecoming Weekend festivities on-campus.
"Adrian College has been a big part of my life since the age of 5. I always tell people that Ridge Gymnasium (the former basketball facility for the Bulldogs, now the Caine Student Center) was my babysitter. I literally grew up on this campus," Mike recalls. "To see what this place has become, makes me so proud of my school. And now, to be a part of Adrian College Hall of Fame history is simply icing on the cake. I am so grateful to be a Bulldog."
Guard Mike Riley was a 1,000-point scorer for the Bulldogs near the turn of Y2K. He finished with 1,007 points as a three-year letterman from 1997 to 2000. The 21st Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point plateau, Mike has the distinction of being only one of two scorers in school history who have accomplished the feat in only three seasons.
Mike was a three-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association pick, including to the first team in 2000 when he was the MIAA scoring champion with 18 points per game (16.9 ppg overall). He twice was named the Bulldogs' most valuable player (1999, 2000), including his junior campaign when he averaged 17.2 points.
Mike initially signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Division I Oakland University and played his first season for the Golden Grizzlies, but decided to return to his hometown team after his freshman year because he thought "life was too short to not play college ball for my dad" Buck Riley–who coached at the College from 1982 to 2009 and is the all-time wins leader for Bulldogs men's basketball.
"Leaving my team at Oakland and joining my new team in Adrian was a difficult thing, but also a gratifying transition," Mike said. "Playing here was a phenomenal experience. There are so many memories, but one that stands out is playing in a tournament in San Antonio, Texas. Everyone thought we had lost the game--2 seconds left, we're down by 2 points and have to go the full length of the court. Coach draws up a play that we executed perfectly to draw a player-control foul, generating two free throws to force overtime. We ultimately won."
Since receiving a degree in English, Mike has been active in his community: Boys & Girls Club of Lenawee County Board Member (2016-12; Outstanding Service Award in 2008), Habitat for Humanity, Lenawee Humane Society, youth basketball coach, and Lenawee Community Arbor Vice President/Chaplin.
Today, Mike works as a project strategist for Artonic Software Development. He is married to his wife, the former Ashley Palmer, and the couple has two children: Grace and Izzy, both 14; the family has a dog, Chief. The family makes its home in Adrian.
He also recently accepted his first coaching position with the Adrian High School girls' varsity basketball program. "Our goal is to make Adrian High one of the top girls' programs in the state of Michigan."
Soon, Mike will be able to impart words of wisdom to his prep student-athletes. He knows how important that guidance can be in life and sports.
"My father taught me to never quit and always give your best. For this, he is my all-time hero. I love you Dad! I dedicate my hall of fame induction to my parents, the entire Riley family and the 27 teams my dad coached.
"It truly means so much to me join such an elite group of athletes and to be a part of AC history. Thank you to the Adrian College family, President Docking, Toby Ernst and the alumni committee for my selection," he concluded.
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