• About Ken

    College: Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, Florida

    NFL: Cincinnati Bengals 1969-1983


    Kenneth Jerome Riley, from Bartow, FL, attended Florida A&M University, where he played football. In addition to his athletic ability, Riley was selected for a Rhodes Scholar Candidacy. After his graduation, he was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 6th round of the 1969 Common Draft. It was at this point in time that Riley switched from the quarterback position to defensive back. This change proved to be the right choice; he posted 4 interceptions, 66 return yards, two fumbles, and added another 3,334 yards on 14 kickoff returns for the season. His record nine interceptions in the season of 1976 was not broken until 2005. His incredible defensive influence for the Bengals was consistent throughout his entire career, even leading the team to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1981.


    At his retirement in 1983, Riley had accumulated a total of 65 interceptions, 596 return yards, five touchdowns, 18 fumble recoveries, 96 fumble return yards, 334 kickoff return yards, and 15 receiving yards. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. When his playing career had concluded, Riley spent two years as the assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. From there, he took the head coaching position at Florida A&M. Riley served as the coach for seven years before becoming the school athletic director until 2003. As a coach, he achieved two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles and two MEAC Coach of the Year awards.


    Over the years, some accolades received by Ken are as follows: Named by the Professional Football Researchers Association into the PRFA Hall of Fame class of 2010. Named Famuan of the Century; recipient of Florida A & M’s Presidential Award; honored in Bartow, Florida with Ken Riley’s Day and a Parade in 1982 following his Super Bowl appearance. Ken has also been inducted into the following Halls of Fame; Florida Sports H.O.F., Union Academy/Bartow High School, Polk County Sports, Florida A & M University, Polk County School Board, Sports Club of Tampa Bay, Florida Sports of Tallahassee, Bartow Youth Football, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and most recently the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Ken served on the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) All-Century Team and Tampa Bay All-Century Team.


    Ken is presently retired. However, he keeps busy as he is a member of the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Gordonville, Florida where he serves as Chairman of the Family Matters Ministry; Chairman of the City of Bartow’s Parks & Recreation Board; Chairman of the Eastside Positive Action Committee, Inc. member of the Economic Development Council; member of the Community Relations Committee; member of the Union Academy Alumni Board; a Mentor at Mulberry Middle School; and has served as Chairman of the Bartow Community Redevelopment Agency. Ken serve as a motivational speaker when call upon in the community and abroad.


    Ken is married to Barbara A. Moore-Riley and they are the proud parents of Kimberly R. Connor, Kenneth Riley II, and Kenisha R. Avery.

    “Coach Brown said that I was going to be a Cornerback.”

    "I was put in that position and I had never played it before. I think that was good, as I did not have any bad habits. They felt that I had the quick feet and could change direction. They took a chance on me and it worked out well. I never looked back. I was just happy to have the opportunity.”


  • Legends are Timeless




    Before his professional career, Riley played quarterback for Florida A&M University. In addition to being a skilled athlete, Riley also excelled academically. He earned his team’s scholastic award and a Rhodes Scholar Candidacy. In 1977, Riley was enshrined in Florida A&M’s Athletic Hall of Fame.


    After graduating from college, Riley was selected by the Bengals in the 6th round of the 1969 Common Draft.



    When Riley reported to training camp, Cincinnati head coach Paul Brown decided to convert Riley to the Cornerback position. Brown’s decision turned out to be a very good one. Riley made an immediate impact for the Bengals as a defensive back, recording 4 interceptions and 66 return yards. He also recovered 2 fumbles, added another 334 yards on 14 kickoff returns, and even caught 2 passes for 15 yards on offense.



    For the rest of his career, Riley established himself as one of the top defensive backs in Pro Football, recording 3 or more interceptions in all but 3 of his 15 seasons.



    His best season was in 1976 when he recorded 9 interceptions, 141 return yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 fumble recoveries. His 9 interceptions set a franchise record for most interceptions in one season, and would remain the team record for 30 years until it was broken by Deltha O’Neal in 2005. He also set a record that year by intercepting 3 passes in the final game of the season; a 42-3 win over New York Jets.



    After his Pro Football playing career ended, Riley spent two years as an assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. Then in 1986, he took over as the head coach of his alma mater, Florida A&M. Riley coached Florida A&M from 1986–1993, compiling a 48-39-2 record, with two Mid-Eastern Athletic conference titles and 2 MEAC coach of the year awards. Riley then served as Florida A&M’s athletic director from 1994-2003.



    He is now retired and living in his hometown of Bartow, Florida. Commenting about not yet being enshrined in the Hall of Fame, Riley said “I think my numbers are deserving of the Hall of Fame. I’ve always been a modest and low-key type guy. I’ve always thought your work would speak for you. It’s like it’s working against me now because the older you get and the longer you stay out of it, people forget who you are.”



    Riley is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. In 2007 he was named to the Florida High School Association All-Century Team which selected the Top 33 players in the 100-year history of high school football in the state of Florida’s history.