Former athlete Mike Riley was quick to help community
After his football career ended, Mike Riley came back to the Pittsburgh area to become a teacher and coach.
That didn’t last long, and he founded All Pro Painters Inc. in Carnegie in 1977. Since then, he tackled painting jobs large and small, residential and commercial, with the same vigor he used to bring down opposing ball carriers — and he made a difference in the community, friends and family said.
Michael J. Riley of Mt. Lebanon died on Saturday, June 25, 2011, after an extended battle with melanoma. He was 60.
Mr. Riley grew up in Carrick, one of eight children. He attended South Hills Catholic High School, where he starred in football.
Riley went on to play linebacker for the University of Miami Hurricanes, where he won the team’s Jack Harding Most Valuable Player Award after his senior season, said Erin Riley of New York, one of his three daughters.
After college, Mr. Riley made his way onto the roster of the Philadelphia Bell, part of the short-lived World Football League. He was listed as a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker.
“For him, being a Miami Hurricane (football player) was sort of a defining part of his life,” Riley said of her father’s connection to the storied program.
Erin Riley said he “liked all the kids” during his stint as a teacher but “he didn’t like all the chit-chat in the teacher’s lounge.”
In his later years, Mr. Riley’s athletic involvement included coaching his daughters’ soccer and softball teams. Lessons he learned on the football field continued to play an important role throughout his life — and in the lives of the children he had with his high-school sweetheart, Anita Lynn. In addition to Erin, they raised Stacie and Tori.
“He always equated lessons in life to lessons he learned on the field. We grew up with sports metaphors,” Erin Riley said.
Jeff Harbin, police chief and borough manager in Carnegie, said Mr. Riley was civic-minded.
“Mike was a Carnegie guy,” Harbin said.
Harbin said Mr. Riley ‘s company was always the first corporate sponsor to come forward to support the 5K race to raise money for the Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department. After devastating flooding from Hurricane Ivan caused substantial damage in the community in 2004, Mr. Riley donated painting services to help homeowners and businesses get back on their feet, Harbin said.
“Whatever you needed, you just had to ask Mike, and he’d do whatever he could to help you out,” Harbin said.
Survivors in addition to his wife and daughters include siblings Mary Ann Clynick, Jack Riley, Patrick Riley, Jim Riley, Eileen Riley, Dan Riley and Joe Riley.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today and Tuesday in William Slater II funeral home, 1650 Greentree Road, Scott. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Bernard Church.