WCSS basketball camps at Concordia continue, without Rick Riehl: “He’s looking down on his legacy”

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MEQUON -- It is business as usual for the basketball camps at Concordia University this summer, but then again, it isn't business as usual at all.

Rick Riehl

Rick Riehl

Rick Riehl has received some heartfelt honors over the last year -- recognizing his many contributions to the local sports scene.

Unfortunately, Riehl isn't around to enjoy the recognition.

Tony Riehl

Troy Riehl

"He was a people person, a pleaser. A great man. A great coach," Troy Riehl, Rick Riehl's son said.

"He will be a part of my coaching career forever, and I just think his memory is going to be the best thing that I can carry on," Stacy Brunner-Jones said.

Stacy Brunner-Jones

Stacy Brunner-Jones

Brunner-Jones and Troy Riehl are working the WCSS basketball camps at Concordia University this summer. Thousands of boys and girls from near and far have come through the camps, which feature instruction, attention and an overnight experience in a college dorm.

Rick Riehl started the camps in 1984.

"I miss Rick a lot. I think it was coming to the first camp a couple of weeks ago that it hit me the hardest. I think Rick though has set such a standard and has taught us so well how to keep WCSS going, how to keep his tradition going, what he believes in and his work ethic, I think. I'm proud to continue that," Brunner-Jones said.

WCSS basketball camps

WCSS basketball camps

Riehl passed away from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in November 2015 at the age of 67.

"The first camp, when I was asked 'where's Rick,' somebody from outside the community, a guy from Iowa, I forgave him instantly, but there's been a lot of tears," Troy Riehl said.

It's only been a year or so since Riehl started to show symptoms and now he's gone. His memory, though, certainly lives on at his camp.

WCSS basketball camps

WCSS basketball camps

"This is Rick Riehl -- WCSS, Concordia. It always will be," Troy Riehl said. "He's in a better place. He's looking down on his legacy and he's happy watching us teach the game of basketball."

Riehl taught and coached at West Bend East High School for more than 30 years. He led the Suns girls basketball team to 10 regional titles and a state championship. He founded the Wisconsin Coaching Scouting Service, WCSS, to help girls from all over the state get recruited by colleges. He developed his camps, and later became the sports information director at Concordia. He touched countless lives and earned all of his accolades.

His loss leaves a hole in the hearts of many.

Rick Riehl

Rick Riehl

"I think it will always be hard and I think that's just in honor of what he's done," Brunner-Jones said.

CJD -- the brain disease that claimed the coach's life is extremely rare. There are fewer than 500 cases annually in the United States. Unfortunately, once diagnosed, 90 percent of patients with the disease die within one year.

That was the case for Riehl.

Rick Riehl

Rick Riehl

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