Mid-South Hero: Coach Lin Riley changing lives through sports

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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MARKS, Miss. (WMC) - A grand slam experience with Coach Lin Riley at the helm is changing lives one sport at a time.

From the gridiron to the court and the sideline, Riley is providing an outlet in organized sports. It started out of need.

When his stepchildren couldn’t find any extracurricular activities during summer break, Riley hit a home run when he started a baseball team. That was 16 years ago. Now, there’s Marks Youth Outreach, Incorporated. It offers baseball, basketball, football, and cheerleading for area youth.

Riley wanted the community to get involved, so he reached out.

“I went to the city board during baseball season and out of faith in God, I asked them could they buy football uniforms and help out with the baseball equipment, and the board said, yeah,” Riley explained.

And it didn’t hurt that some of the players attended the board meeting.

More importantly, it helped reduce the stress on the coach’s bank account and his health. Riley worked two jobs and much of his income went to the teams, including paying to rent a building so the kids would have a place to practice. During this time, Riley suffered three strokes. The last stroke left him paralyzed on his right side.

“I’m still here. I’m still doing football, basketball, baseball everything,” Riley said.

What makes him even more remarkable is he’s never missed a game in all these years.

“I always come back,” said Riley.

Marks Youth Outreach doesn’t only focus on sports.

”We don’t only teach them football. We take them to church, we take them to movies, skating rinks, and stuff like that. We give them so much stuff to do. Creative. Now, that we got the building, we have food in here to feed them all the time. They eat, eat, eat,” Riley explained.

Feeding the whole child, mind, body, and spirit. That’s what a hero does.

Congratulations Lin Riley! You are this month’s Mid-South Hero.

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