Luther Riley, current head men’s basketball coach of the John W. Provine High School Rams for the past eleven years and former graduate assistant coach at Alcorn under the tutelage of the legendary Davey L. “The Wiz” Whitney, has been named the 9th head men’s basketball coach of the Alcorn State University Braves. Riley has compiled a head coaching record of 286-70-0 (.803) in eleven seasons, having previously served as an assistant coach at East Central Community College (Decatur, Mississippi) and a volunteer assistant coach at Mississippi Valley under the renowned Lafayette Stribling. Riley will be introduced at an 11 a.m. CST press conference and Meet & Greet on Monday, March 28, at the Jackson Convention Complex in downtown Jackson, Mississippi.
“We are extremely pleased and excited to welcome Coach Luther Riley back home to Alcorn State University,” said Dr. M. Christopher Brown II, 18th president of Alcorn State University. “Coach Riley is a seasoned coach committed to restoring our basketball program’s reputation on the court as well as ensuring student athlete success in the classroom. His winning nature, familiarity with the SWAC and proven ability to recruit and develop the best talent will lead to many years of success for Braves basketball.” “I’d also like to commend our search committee for their thoroughness in conducting this search, and for its ultimate outcome. From the beginning, the committee has acted with appropriate patience, integrity and respect for the individuals and organizations involved. Our announcement today underscores the quality of the process we have established and dedication to finding the right coach for Alcorn.”
“We are excited to announce that Luther Riley is the new men’s head basketball coach at Alcorn State University,” said LLJuna Weir, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Search Committee chairwoman. “When the committee set out on this search we wanted to find a coach who had a proven record of championship success and achievement. Coach Riley brings that proven record of accomplishment and success to our program and signifies the revival of Braves basketball and affirms our commitment to provide our student-athletes and fans with a leader who will continue our commitment to excellence both on and off the court.”
Riley succeeds Larry Smith, who recently accepted another opportunity within the University on March 10, 2011, after three seasons as head coach at The Reservation.
A well-respected, veteran head coach who has achieved resounding success, Riley has earned a reputation as an outstanding skills expert, leader, organizer and motivator. His teams have repeatedly exhibited character, finesse, determination and resilience to achieve victory. An excellent player development expert, Riley, has assembled teams that have won ten district championships in eleven seasons. Riley’s consistent approach and disciplined leadership are a proven recipe for success.
During eleven seasons at the helm of the Provine Rams, Riley’s teams demonstrated great composure and dominance on the court. Taking over a program in turmoil, Riley’s 1999 Rams demonstrated their familiar superiority as he guided the team to a 28-4 record in his first year. Soon the program was on a roll and won its first Mississippi High School Athletics and Activities Association (MHSAAA) State Championship in 2003. For his accomplishments that season, Riley was named Metro-Jackson Coach of the Year, Mississippi Association of Coaches Coach of the Year 2003 and received the prestigious Jackson City Council’s Leroy T. Smith Award for leadership, sportsmanship and achievement.
Riley’s teams have ended nine out of the last eleven seasons with 20+ wins. He is the youngest coach in Mississippi History (30 years old) to win back-to-back state championships in 2003 and 2004. Having played in seven state championships, Riley’s Rams have walked away with four “Gold Balls” in 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008. The highlight of his career came when his team won the “Big Daddy of Them All”, the MHSAAA State Grand Slam Championship in 2008 and he was named Clarion Ledger Coach of the Year.
His successes have been recognized and rewarded by respected organizations around the nation as Riley has served as the head coach of the Mississippi North/South All-Stars (2005), Nike All-American All Star Coach (2005), Kentucky Derby Classic All-Stars Coach (2004), Louisiana Showcase Skills Instructor and the Michael Jordan Capital Classic All Star Coach (2005). Riley is also a Nike certified skills instructor, coach consultant to USA Basketball and a clinician for the Mississippi Basketball Best Coaching Clinics.
A native of Walnut Grove, Mississippi, Riley is a 1992 graduate of East Central Community College where he earned an associate of arts degree in liberal arts. He earned his bachelor’s degree in health and physical education at Mississippi Valley State University in 1995, and a master’s degree in secondary education from Alcorn State University in 1998. Born December 4, 1972, Riley is the son of Bernette and Earline Riley and the proud father of one son.
A standout point guard during his playing days at East Central and Mississippi Valley under legendary head coach Lafayette Stribling, Riley is considered by his colleagues as an elite instructor of the game. Riley is a member of the 100 Black Men of Jackson and the Mississippi Association of Coaches.
Quotes on Luther J. Riley:
Nate Hughes, president of the Alcorn State University “A” Club “I want to congratulate Dr. Brown and the search committee for doing such a great job in the search for the new head men’s basketball coach at Alcorn. Coach Luther Riley is a talented professional with an extraordinary record. We are particularly impressed by his emphasis on the academic success of student-athletes in his programs and his expert knowledge of the game. Alcorn basketball has a rich history and tradition, and we look forward to great seasons ahead for the Braves and our fans.”
Charles McClelland, search committee member
“I feel like he is the right man for the job and he will be good in getting us back on track. He has a great knowledge and passion for the game of basketball, plus he’s won championships. Coach Riley is a great student and teacher of the game. Everyone in Mississippi knows that the road to the ‘Big House’ goes through west Jackson and we want to take that same belief to the SWAC and Alcorn.”
Marquiz Baker, point guard
“He is a real down to business guy and he knows what he wants. He’s a players’ coach and can get the very best out of his players and he works real hard. You can’t ask for anyone better than Coach Riley, who comes from Alcorn and brings that winning tradition to the table. All of the guys are excited to have Coach Riley coming to Alcorn. He has won a lot of basketball games. That makes it even more exciting for us.”