Jamila McKinnis-Riley enters Stillman College Athletic Hall of Fame
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Juliet Brown and Kalen Brooks
Jamila McKinnis-Riley grew up playing volleyball and basketball but never imagined pursuing a professional athletic career.
She enrolled at Stillman College on a full academic scholarship, but her parents pushed her to try out for the school’s women’s basketball team.
“They wanted me to play and I was like, ‘I don’t wanna play’ – I’m done,” McKinnis-Riley said. “So they like kind of guilted me into playing, and I’m like okay. I’ll just try it for this year, and I will say I did not want to go. I did not wanna get up every morning and play. I did not want to go, but I did.”
Slowly but surely, McKinnis-Riley’s passion for playing returned by her junior year. Scoring 1,000 points for the women’s basketball team and recording 1,000 kills for the volleyball team. She was a five-time conference pick – twice for basketball and three times for volleyball.
She was the definition of a student-athlete, on and off the court, maintaining a four-point GPA her entire undergrad career. Her hard work in the classroom was recognized as she was a two-time recipient of the Arthur Ash Jr. Sports Scholar Award, which honors students of color who excel in school and the athletic field.
“My personality — I’m very type A,” McKinnis-Riley said. “If I do something, I put my all into it, so I wouldn’t say it was more so I’m going to school. I’m focused on this. It’s just because anything I’m doing, I put my all into it.”
Even though it took her a while to embrace being a two-sport athlete, she is thrilled to represent all female athletes that have been a part of the Stillman College athletic history in the hall of fame.