FAMU Hall of Fame legend Ken Riley passes away at 72
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Florida A&M Football legend Ken Riley passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 72 according to a release from the university. The former Rattler Quarterback, Head Coach and Athletic director was one of the cornerstones of FAMU athletics and beyond throughout his historic 15 year career in the National Football League.
Riley played all four years under center on The Hill and was a sixth round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1969. Riley would convert to cornerback, where he would remain his entire career in the NFL, finishing has time in pro football with 65 interceptions, currently fifth all-time. He remains the only corner in the top five of the category to not be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After his decade and a half of playing in the pros Riley would become a coach, eventually becoming the head man at FAMU in 1986. In eight seasons on the sideline at Bragg Memorial Stadium, Riley’s Rattlers would win two MEAC titles with coach himself being named the conference’s Coach of the Year twice.
Riley would finish his career as a coach with a 48-39-2 record before serving as Athletic Director from 1993-2004.
Riley’s accolades are plentiful, a Rhodes Scholar candidate as a student, a three time All-Pro, a FAMU Hall of Famer and a Black College Football Hall of Famer.
"I woke up this morning with a heavy heart as I learned of the passing of FAMU and NFL great Ken Riley," FAMU Head Football Coach Willie Simmons said in a statement released by the school. "Coach Riley was one of the first to welcome me to the FAMULY and having him speak to our team before our first Orange and Green game is definitely at the top of my list of unforgettable moments as head coach here at FAMU. My deepest condolences go out to his family and we as football community will surely honor his memory."