In Memoriam: Ken Riley, 1947-2020

Ken Riley, who played for 15 years for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League and later served as director of athletics at Florida A&M University, died at his home in Bartow, Florida, on June 7. He was 72 years old.

Ken Riley was a four-year starting quarterback for Florida A&M University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar nominee. He went on to be selected in the sixth round by the Cincinnati Bengals during the 1969 NFL draft. Despite being a quarterback in college, at that time there were no Black quarterbacks in the NFL and Riley was converted to a defensive back. He played for 15 years (1969-1983)  and recorded 65 interceptions in his career, which is the fifth-highest total in league history.

In 1986, Riley was named head football coach at his alma mater, Florida A&M. He compiled a 48-39-2 record over eight seasons, with two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships. In 1993, Riley was appointed director of athletics at Florida A&M University. He served in that role until his retirement in 2004.


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