Whether coaching wrestling, cake football, or tennis, Mr. Deeble was an outstanding and devoted mentor, teacher, and trainer. His friend and colleague Jim Seidule remembers that for many years he coached all three seasons, and for each sport, “he was the same hard worker, specializing in having his athletes in shape, teaching the fundamentals, and winning. Yet I do not think he had any athletic background in any of those three sports. Like all the coaches during my years, we were amateurs. We were teachers first. Riley developed into an excellent coach, highly respected by his athletes, the faculty, and his competing coaches.”
For 25 years, Mr. Deeble coached the cake football team, where half of the varsity players on the undefeated 1961 football team and hundreds of other boys began their careers.
He was head coach of varsity wrestling for 27 years (1957-84) and assistant coach for eight years (1952-53, 1985-92). Under Mr. Deeble’s leadership, Episcopal won the Metro Championship in 1961 and placed second in 1962, won the St. Albans Tournament in 1963, and was co-champion in 1967. Mr. Deeble coached several state champions, including Chip Compton ’73, John Goddin ’77, Charlie Leake ’77, Carter Jordan ’81, and Will Thomas ’82. When the Virginia Independent School Wrestling Association (VISWA) was formed in 1972, the coaches elected Mr. Deeble to be president, and he served in this post for 15 years. In 1992, on the night of the finals of the St. Albans Tournament, St. Albans presented Mr. Deeble with a chair on which was inscribed, “In appreciation of 35 years of coaching and dedication to the sport of wrestling.”
Although he counts this recognition from outside Episcopal among his proudest moments, he says, “Election to the Hall of Fame is recognition from within the EHS community, but it satisfies a superior standard of honor. I value it accordingly.”
“I was proud to vote for him,” says Mr. Seidule, “and proud that he will be inducted. In fact, I cannot think of a better reason to have the Hall of Fame than to induct William Riley Deeble.”
Watch a video of Mr. Deeble's induction.