Ed and Riley Conroy form basketball’s newest father-son duo

Ed and Riley Conroy form basketball's newest father-son duo

Jonathan Harvey, Online Sports Editor

There have been plenty of notable college basketball father-son duos. Most recently, former Creighton forward Doug McDermott and his father, head coach Greg McDermott, paired to put Creighton on the map. Doug, the 2014 Wooden Award winner, averaged 26.7 points per game in the Big East and his father made the NCAA Basketball Tournament from 2012-14 and clinched the No. 3 seed in the 2014 tournament.

The duo was prolific. Greg put Doug in every situation to succeed and the Denver Nuggets drafted Doug in the 2014 NBA Draft and later traded him to the Chicago Bulls.

Tulane freshman guard Riley and basketball head coach Ed Conroy now headline the newest crop of father-son duos in college basketball. Riley said the relationship gives him a great advantage. 

“I’ve seen him coach many teams and I’ve seen teams that have failed and teams that have come together,” Riley Conroy said. “I’ve seen a good mix throughout the college basketball spectrum and it’s nice to be able to finally go through it and I want give it 100 percent and do whatever I can do to help the team be the best that we can be.”

Riley Conroy, a Jesuit High School graduate, wants to earn his way onto this team and has felt no animosity from the rest of the players based on his relationship with his dad. 

“I definitely feel, in a personal view, that I had a chip on my shoulder and needed to prove myself,” Conroy said. “But these guys welcomed me right away and let me know that wasn’t the case and we were all going to be one family. It’s been awesome because I don’t feel like someone different; I feel like a part of this team. I have been able to have a father-son relationship as well as a coach-player relationship, which has been really different.” 

That father-son relationship is tricky for both Riley and Ed, as they have to differentiate professional and personal lives.

“Sometimes when family calls, [they] want to know how [Riley is] doing,” Ed said. “They maybe ask about another player, you realize you’re talking about their nephew or grandson and it always brings a laugh.”

Ed has never coached Riley before, because he has coached professionally for most of Riley’s teenage years and taking on another coaching job would most likely have violated NCAA rules. Ed said he’s enjoyed coaching Riley in this short time. Riley said his father never pushed him to play basketball. He played everything from soccer to football.  

Riley said he wished Ed had been more outspoken in his high school career.

“He made a very strong point to never [say anything to coaches] and it kind of agitated me at some points because I wanted his input,” Conroy said. “But I value it now that he really wanted to stay away and not get into that because he wanted me to figure it out for myself so that I could truly figure out the relationship between the coach and the player.”

Ed joked he sees Riley more often than before and Riley knows his father understands just how far to push him at practice. Overall, Ed and Riley both enjoy the dynamic between coach and son.

“I obviously try to treat him like you would any other player, probably treat them all like they’re your sons,” Ed said. “It takes on special meaning especially afterwards when you can maybe go to dinner or something like that.”

Read the full interview with Riley Conroy