On any team the quarterback position is perhaps the most visible. At Lehigh where there is a history of great quarter-backs it is even more pressure-packed. Following in the lines of Mike Rieker just adds to the pressure. Rieker is best known as the quarterback who guided Lehigh to a 1977 NCAA Division II National Championship. That is the only Lehigh football squad to win a national championship. Rieker led Lehigh to a 12-2 record including eight straight victories to end the season including a 33-0 rout of Jackson State in the Pioneer Bowl Championship game.
Rieker's career totals are impressive. He completed 293 passess out of 501 attempts (58.4%) for 4,649 yards and 40 touchdowns. And those figures don't include three playoff games which under NCAA statistics regulations aren't included in final stats. He was named the ECAC Division II Player-of-the-Year and to the New York Times All-East team.
"One man can't do it alone," Rieker says. "Football is a team sport. I was only as good as the people around me. My team included my family, friends, coaches and teammates. Without their love, guidance and friendship I would not be here. My induction into the Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame is a testament to all those good people who surrounded me my whole life.
Thanks to all."
Rieker threw the longest pass completion in school history a 97-yarder to Mark Weaver at Pennsylvania in 1976. He still holds single-season records for yards/attempt (10.57), TD pass percentage (10.00) and rating points (169.18) all during the 1977 season.
On the career charts Rieker is second in quarterback rating (147.93) and TD pass percentage (7.91) and fourth in touchdown passes (40).
A College Division All-American, Rieker had the arm, paired with the hands and legs of current Lehigh Hall of Famer Steve Kreider, that took Lehigh all the way to the top. Rieker and Kreider, like the famed backfield duo of Hall of Famers Dick Gabriel and Dick Doyne will always be remembered in the same breath. Lehigh has a firm tradition of outstanding quarterbacks, beginning with Ail-American Pat Pazzetti Jr., in 1912. Only Rieker ever took the Engineers to a national championship.
Rieker is still heavily involved in football. He has coached the Catasauqua Knee-Hi team for the last nine years and coached at Bethlehem Catholic for two years prior to that. A member of the Lehigh Quarterback Club and Delta Tau Delta fraternity Rieker currently is a Territory Manager for Allegiance Health Care.
Rieker, his wife Denise, and son Matthew, reside in Catasauqua.