Martin Riley (MBB | Student-athlete)
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
NAME: Martin Riley
SPORT: Men's basketball
YEARS ACTIVE: 1973-78
1975-76 CIAU Player of the Year
CIAU champion (1975-76)
Member of the 1976 Olympic team
Represented Canada at 1976 and 1978 World Championships
One of the finest basketball players to emerge out of the province of Manitoba, Martin Riley owns the distinction of being one of the few 17-year-olds to ever make the Canadian national team.
The talented point guard garnered attention as a senior at Sisler High School in Winnipeg during the 1972-73 season, where he led the squad to a perfect 35-0 and the province’s 4A title. Emerging from that season, Riley was named to the Canadian national team and enrolled at the University of Manitoba.
Over five seasons as a Bison, Riley was a three-time CIAU All-Canadian (1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78) and the nation's top player in 1975-76. That season, he lead Manitoba to the program's first national title in program history with an 82-69 victory over Saint Mary's in the national final.
Following the Bisons historic victory, Riley was off to Montreal for the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. There, he was part of Canada's fourth-place finish on home soil. It was the only Olympics Riley competed in, as Canada's boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow stalled a second appearance for Riley, who was slated to be the team's captain.
In addition to the 1976 Games, Riley was part of Canada's squads at the 1974 and 1978 World Championships, along with the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games, and the 1977 and 1979 World University Games.
Riley graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1978 with a degree in physical education, and went on to win two national senior titles with Nicolett Inn in 1979 and 1980. He would complete his career during the 1980-81 season, playing for Argentinian team River Plate.
Following his playing career, Riley went on to a teaching career including time at Miles Mac Collegiate in Winnipeg where he helped the program transform into a two-time 4A provincial champion over a seven-year run as head coach.
He is also a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, and Canada Basketball Hall of Fame.
Written by Evan Daum.