James Reilly was born in Yonkers on February 8, 1948. After attending elementary and junior high school in Yonkers, James went on to attend the Hackley School in Tarrytown where he began to excel in athletics. He was twice chosen to the All-County Track Team for his prowess in the shot put and discus. By his senior year at Hackley, James had earned numerous awards, which included the Dellwood Award for outstanding track performer in Westchester and 1st place in the shot put and discus at the New York State Track and Field Championship at Schenectady.
Upon graduation from Hackley, James entered the University of Notre Dame in 1966 where he quickly developed into one of the nation’s premier offensive linemen.
A starter as an offensive tackle from 1966 to 1969. James was named to Kodak All America Team and the College Sports Information Directors All-American Team in 1970. James was chosen in the 3rd round of the NFL draft in April of 1970 by the Buffalo Bills and quickly found himself on the starting offensive line in his inaugural season on the professional level, and could be found there for the next two seasons.
James retired from football after the 1972 season and is currently residing in Yonkers, New York.