Tribute to Tom Reilly

16 December 1941 - 11 June 2009

Tim Cable, Director of Sports Science writes:

Tom was unique. Professor Tom Reilly

He was a very private man who was universally respected and admired by all.  He was a deeply compassionate and loyal man, profoundly interested in the development of others before himself.  His intellectual powers knew no boundaries, providing deep insights into the worlds of philosophy, literature and the use of English language.  But, outside his family, his passions were science (particularly kinanthropometry - on which he completed writing a textbook in his last week!), Everton, Everton, Football  in general (many codes but mainly the round ball shape) and Ireland.  He was a voracious reader and writer and his motivation and dedication to acquire and disseminate knowledge appeared endless.

He applied his bountiful energy in the realm of academic leadership, both within and outside this institution.  He was the first ever Professor of Sports Science in the UK, and helped forge the rich heritage of sport and exercise scientific study at Liverpool Polytechnic, LJMU and beyond. As his reputation of excellence grew, his influence extended nationally and internationally, leading many initiatives and effecting change in policy and practice in many esteemed organisations.  Perhaps the most profound legacy has been his mentoring of staff and postgraduate students (his self-titled “Liverpool Mafia”) that now exert significant ripples of influence across all walks of society, but particularly within HE.  In this way, over the years, he has been responsible for germinating the seeds of our young discipline.

But despite these powerful academic credentials, Tom will remain in my mind as a very warm, intensely caring and very humorous individual, whose eye always had a twinkle.

The Tom Reilly Memorial Fund

The reaction of the sports science community worldwide to Tom’s death has been both humbling and inspirational, such is the regard in which Tom is held. In response to the many enquiries asking how Tom’s passing might be marked, the University has established a Memorial Fund in Tom’s name. In recognition of Tom’s tireless and unflagging support for young researchers, it is hoped that this Fund will raise £150,000 over the next three years to support three PhD studentships in Tom’s areas of research interest.

The University is immensely grateful to everyone who is considering either the committal of a regular gift over the next three years, or a single donation, which will serve to continue and enhance Tom’s substantial legacy within LJMU and beyond. 

For more information about the Tom Reilly Memorial Fund please contact Colette Glanville,, 0151 231 3292.

Page last modified 27 June 2011.

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