Pat Riley, was a versatile athlete in college, participating in both basketball and football. He was an All-American member of the famous Rupp’s Runts and led the 1966 University of Kentucky basketball team, coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp, to the NCAA title game, where they lost to Texas Western (now known as UTEP). While in the NBA he played on one NBA Championship team (L.A. Lakers) and coached 5 NBA Championship teams (the 80’s Showtime Lakers and the 2006 Miami Heat).
He was selected by the San Diego Rockets in the 1st round of the 1967 NBA Draft, and was also drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL Draft. He joined the Rockets and was later selected by the Portland Trail Blazers, in the 1970 NBA expansion draft, but immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, which he helped win the 1972 NBA Finals, coming off the bench and guarding friend and legendary Laker guard Jerry West in practice. Despite this, overall, his playing career was undistinguished, as he was a perennial bench player. He retired after the 1975-76 NBA season as a member of the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns.
Coach Riley was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and joined his mentor and Coach–Adolph Rupp–as well as NBA greats like Red Auerbach and other legendary NCAA coaches such as John Wooden.