Professor Tom Reilly 1941 – 2009

Professor Tom Reilly was a very private man who was universally respected and admired. His intellectual powers knew no boundaries, providing deep insights into the worlds of philosophy, literature and the use of language. Outside his family, his passions were science, Everton, football in general and Ireland.

The 1970s marked the growth of a new discipline which remains a key strength at LJMU: sport and exercise science. He was a key member of the team at Liverpool Polytechnic that set up the world's first BSc (Hons) degree in sports science in 1975. He was also the UK's first Professor of Sports Science and helped lay the foundations for sport and exercise scientific study at Liverpool Polytechnic before it became known as LJMU.

Professor Reilly pioneered applied practice in the football world. This early work on notational analysis and work rate profiles has paved the way for generations of sports science graduates to apply their knowledge and expertise in the football industry. Our science and football degree programme that was established in 1998 is recognised as an industry leader in producing students for the football sector.

“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. In this way, over the years, he has been responsible for germinating the seeds of our young discipline.”

– Tim Cable, Professor of Sports Science

His influence extended nationally and internationally, leading many initiatives and effecting change in policy and practice in many highly esteemed organisations.

Thanks to Professor Reilly's vision, dedication and legacy, LJMU's Sport and Exercise Sciences research is ranked in the top five in the UK, based on the Research Excellence Framework results 2021.

The state-of-the-art Tom Reilly Building is the hub of the school today and contains a range of world leading facilities and equipment for training the next generation of sport and exercise scientists. The £25m facility is named after the late Professor and was opened in 2010 by footballing legend Steven Gerrard.