The Pat Riley Sports Center
It's easy understand how the athletic center at Schenectady High School got it's name.
The legendary player, coach, author, motivational speaker, NBA Hall of Famer Pat Riley, graduated from Linton High School, which is now known as Schenectady High School.
On October 15, 1997, Riley who at the time was in his second year as the Miami Heat Head Coach and President, returned to Schenectady High School for a student dedication ceremony at which the newly renovated athletic facility was named in his honor. He spent an afternoon touring the school and meeting with the administrators, teachers and students.
It was an exciting day at Schenectady High School as Riley told the students what their school was like thirty-some years earlier. He shared stories of his days in Schenectady and provided encouragement, inspiration and advice.
When Riley was in high school, he starred in four sports. He credits his father and many Schenectady coaches who influenced his life when he was a teenager.
As a three year varsity basketball player at Linton, he scored 1,000 career points and finished with a team record of 46-7. He led Linton to the 1961 Holiday Festival Tournament title defeating Power Memorial with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in the final. Riley was named a high school basketball All-American in 1963 and was the first player to win the Union Star's County Player of the Year as a junior and senior.
After high school, Riley played basketball for the legendary coach Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky where he was a member of Kentucky's Final Four Team in 1966.
He averaged 22 points per game his junior year, was the team captain as a senior and was named three-time MVP at Kentucky. He was also named a collegiate basketball All-American.
Riley played nine years in the NBA. In 1967, he was selected in the first round of the NBA draft pick by the San Diego Rockets.
He joined the Lakers in 1970 and averaged 6.7 points per game on the Lakers 1971-72 NBA championship team. That year, the Lakers set an NBA record winning 33 consecutive games.
Riley completed his career as a player with the Phoenix Suns.
Over his nine year career, Riley scored 3,906 points averaging 7.4 points per game.
Following retirement, Riley worked as broadcaster of the Lakers games until 1980 when he was selected as assistant coach of the Lakers. The next year he was named head coach of the team.
Riley's team won the NBA title in his first season as head coach and a total of four NBA championships with the Lakers including back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988. He was the coach of the eighties.
From 1991-1995, Riley coached the New York Knicks, leading them to the NBA finals in 1994.
He was named team president of the Miami Heath since 1995 and head coach in two separate tenures (1995-2003 and 2005-2008). He is regarded as one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time.
Overall as a coach, Riley won 16 of 18 division titles, including four in a row at Miami. He won five NBA championships, including four as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) and a fifth in 2005 with the Miami Heat.
Riley ranks third on the all-time wins list in NBA history behind Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson.
He is a member of the NBA's Ten Best Coaches of All-Time and is the only coach in history to win NBA Coach of the Year honors with three different teams.
Riley won the 2012 and 2013 NBA championships with the Heat as their president.
Riley is also a motivational speaker. His books Showtime, and The Winner Within, have appeared on the NY Times Best Seller list.
He was selected by the Times Union as one of the Capital Region's Top 10 Athletes of the Century . He was also named to Sport's Illustrated's list of the Greatest Athletes/Sports Figures of the Century.
Riley was inducted in the Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. He he has returned to attend the annual Athletic Hall of Fame and Reunion Dinner on multiple occasions as a guest and a speaker.
The setting of trophy cases, plaques and displays that decorate Schenectady High School, honor not only Pat Riley, but a long line of Schenectady graduates who have made an impact on the history and tradition of sports in Schenectady.