From Basketball Player To Coach
After retiring as a player, Riley worked as a television broadcaster for the Lakers beginning in 1977. He stayed in this post until 1979. At the start of the 1979-80 season, Riley accepted an offer from Paul Westhead, the head coach of the Lakers to become his assistant coach.
Riley took over as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers early in the 1981-82 season. In his very first season in the top coaching position, the Lakers won the NBA Championship. During the nine years Riley was head coach for the Lakers, the team won four NBA titles in seven NBA Finals appearances. Riley also led the Lakers to 60 wins four seasons in a row (1984-85 through the 1987-88 season). Under Riley, the Lakers won every division title, and won 50 or more games in each of the nine seasons Riley led them. The Lakers' win-loss record under Riley was 533-194. In 1990, Riley earned the first of his Coach of the Year awards. He told the Washington Post's Anthony Cotton after winning the award, "I don't want to belittle the award—it does mean something—but I think I became a good coach when I stopped worrying about things like recognition."