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Colleen Riley grew up in Michigan, moving to California with her family while in high school. Colleen, a sports enthusiast, attended Anaheim High School, where she encountered the opportunity to play organized sports, field hockey, softball, and basketball. She always had a big love of team sports.
After Riley graduated, she felt there was one natural place to go to continue her education and sports development – Fullerton College. Riley excelled at a variety of sports, playing for former softball coach and women’s athletic director, Margo Davis. She then transferred to Cal State L.A. and then Whittier College, where she earned a degree in physical education.
Riley’s path led her to Valencia High School in Placentia, where she taught physical education, and a strange thing happened: she became a coach. Riley then served as one of the founding faculty members of El Dorado High School, where she served as girl’s basketball coach, although there was just a minimum of competition available.
With men’s sports in the driver’s seat in those days, very little attention, if any, was given to women’s athletics. However, Riley had begun to make a name for herself, and when a position opened up for a coach at Fullerton College, she was immediately contacted. In keeping with tradition three decades later, Riley has amassed 540 wins. In Riley’s coaching career, she has averaged 22.5 victories per year. Her teams have won 15 conference championships, six Southern California Championships and a State Championship in 1978. In 1983, Riley’s squad had a perfect 27 – 0 season. And, with 540 wins under her belt, Riley was the first coach in community college women’s basketball to win 500 games.