ASHLAND, Ore. — There's a reason the gym in Southern Oregon University's Lithia Motors Pavilion bears the name of coach Bob Riehm. He was an SOU legend. On Monday, died peacefully at the age of 83, according to SOU Athletics.
The Hall of Fame coach transformed the SOU wrestling program into perennial national title contenders when he took over in 1969. In his 25 years at the helm, Riehm led the Raiders to three national championships and coached 100 NAIA All-Americans.
In his first of his 25 years as head coach for the Raiders wrestling team, Riehm's squad went 7-7. That's the last time they finished at .500 while Riehm was coaching. The Raider legend finished his career in 1994 with a 270-71-2 record.
"Bob Riehm's name and legacy is unmatched in the halls of SOU and NAIA wrestling," SOU Director of Athletics Matt Sayre said in a press release. "He had a huge impact on the lives of so many he coached and worked with, and that continued after his retirement. He will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in Raider history. We're honored to have his name grace our facility and the several scholarships he set up to support our program."
Bob Riehm Arena bears his name when he and his family helped raise over $100,000 towards scholarships, a new wrestling mat, sound system, and scoreboards for the gym. The two-time NAIA Coach of the Year and an inductee to multiple halls of fame put and solidified SOU's name on the wrestling map.
"First, the SOU wrestling family sends its condolences to Bob's family," Raider wrestling coach Joel Gibson said via press release. "His hard work and dedication put SOU wrestling on the map and is the reason why our program has such a strong tradition. He was instrumental in shaping the lives of countless young men who came through here, and his role as a mentor will have a lasting impact. We'll do our best to honor his legacy for many years to come."