Lupe Rios Obituary

 MACOMB, IL – Former Western Illinois University Leatherneck Basketball Coach and Alumnus Lupe Rios died July 27 in Arizona. He was 89.

Lupe Rios Obituary

The Hall of Famer graduated from Western in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. During his years as a student, from 1952-1956, Rios played on some of the most successful teams in WIU history for the legendary Coach Stix Morley. Western went 86-24 during his playing years, making it to two NAIA tournaments in Kansas City, finishing second in 1954 and third in 1955.

After graduating from Western, Rios had brief teaching and coaching stints at Dallas City and Orion. He also earned his master's degree in public school administration from WIU in 1962. Rios spent the rest of his high school teaching and coaching career at Northwestern (Sciota, IL), where he rarely had a losing team. He left Northwestern in 1976 when Leatherneck great and WIU Head Men's Basketball Coach Walt Moore hired him as an assistant coach. This appointment reunited the two as they were teammates in the 1950s.

At the time of his hire in 1976, Rios told the then-Macomb Journal, "I felt like it was time to move on. The opportunity was here and I'm looking forward to being a part of WIU basketball again." He continued as assistant coach under Jack Margenthaler until retiring from Western in 1989.

"I grew up with the Rios family and Lupe was my coach at Sciota Northwestern and the assistant coach for three of my four years at Western," said WIU Foundation Executive Officer Brad Bainter. Executive Officer of the WIU Foundation. "I always felt we were the best coached team every time we took the floor in high school and even though we were a small school, we had a lot of success because of him. He assisted during some of the most successful years at Western in recent memory and was a much-loved coach by all the players."

Rios was inducted into the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975, and his 1953-54 team was inducted in 2005. Rios was also a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou (Ellis), two sons, Ricci and John, and his grandchildren.

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