By Clarence Plank: PNT Staff Writer
Former Eastern New Mexico University basketball coach Larry Riley was promoted on Monday to vice president of basketball operations with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Riley, 64, was given the job after Golden State elected not to renew former player and manager Chris Mullin’s contract.
A couple of Riley’s friends still live in the Portales area and keep up with him. Former Zias Coach Wayne Moore has known Riley since they coached together at ENMU in 1980. Moore said Riley is thrilled about his promotion with Golden State.
“Larry and I got along great together,” Moore said. “We recruited together and did a lot of things. He was a great guy to be around and I learned a lot from him.”
Riley was the Greyhounds coach from 1978 to 1988. He led the Greyhounds to four winnings seasons, but was let go after finishing the 1987-88 season 4-23.
When Moore came to Eastern he had no college experience in coaching. Riley helped Moore with all the procedures and guided him through what he needed to know coaching at the college level.
Riley coached at his almamater Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb., before coming to ENMU. He later joined the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach and advance scout for the club.
Six years later he left the Bucks for a position with the Vancouver Grizzles as the director of player personnel.
Then he got the No. 2 assistant coach position under head coach Don Nelson with the Dallas Mavericks before following Nelson to Golden State in 2006.
B.B. Lees, former ENMU athletics director, said Riley was one of the better coaches Eastern’s ever had. Riley has 37 years of basketball experience in various coaching and administrative positions.
“The thing that we found was you could live by what Riley tells ya,” Lees said. “I appreciated the work that he did, the integrity he had for the university.”