Mike Riley, New Nebraska Coach: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Mike Riley, Nebraska football coach, Oregon State football coach


Nebraska announced on Thursday the hiring of 61-year-old Oregon State head coach Mike Riley in the wake of the Bo Pelini’s firing.

Here’s what you need to know about the Huskers’ new head man:

1. Leaving Oregon State Came as a Surprise

Insiders Alert: Nebraska Hires Mike RileyNebraska got a coach from the state of Oregon, but was it the right one? Managing editor Pete Fiutak weighs in on whether Mike Riley fits in with the Cornhuskers.2014-12-04T18:47:23.000Z

Almost no one expected Riley to leave Oregon State. With a clause in his contract that added one year for every six-win season, Riley was locked in until at least 2021, making $1.5 million a year. After 14 years with the Beavers, his abrupt decision to move on took many by surprise.


 2. Riley Has Followed in His Father’s Footsteps

mike riley, oregon state football coach, nebraska football coach


Riley’s father, Bud, was an assistant at Oregon State from 1965-72. After his stint with Oregon State, he went to up north to coach in the Canadian Football League from 1973-85. In the CFL, he was on the coaching staff — usually as a defensive coordinator — of six different teams.

3. Riley Lost His Father & Became a Grandfather Within a Year

mike riley, oregon state football coach, nebraska football coach


In 2010, Bud died after suffering a stroke. Prior to his father’s death, Mike was told that his 22-year-old daughter, Kate, was expecting her first child, a boy, who was eventually named Elijah Jo Riley Stevenson. Bud passed away on Elijah’s first birthday, providing a mix of emotions for the family.

The Oregonian covered this story, mostly from Mike’s point of view. In the story they say Mike made it through the loss of his father and the surprise of his grandson with the help of his wife, Dee.

“I don’t remember sleeping much that offseason,” Mike says. “But I thought about what I teach our players: Life is about balance. I talk about that every day. I’ve got a family, I’ve got my job and I have to take the garbage out on Tuesday. So I’m going to go to work and we’re going to figure out what to do, and then I went home and we were going to figure out what to do.”

4. Riley Won 6 Bowl Games at Oregon State

mike riley, nebraska football coach, oregon football coach, 2007 emerald bowl


In 14 seasons with the Beavers, Riley posted 93-80 record and wins in six of eight Bowl appearances. In the entirety of Oregon State’s history, they have only been to 17 Bowl games and have won 11 of them. The most recent came in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, where Oregon State defeated Boise State, 38-23. The year before that, however, Oregon State lost the 2012 Alamo Bowl to Texas, 31-27.

5. The Terms of Riley’s Deal Haven’t Been Disclosed

mike riley, nebraska football coach, oregon state football coach, oregon state football


Riley was formally introduced at a Friday morning press conference, which included more information on his contract. He will start with a base salary of $2.7 million with a $100,000 increase per season. The contract is for five years, running through the 2019 season.

The Oregonian suggests coaches like Mike Norvall, Matt Wells, Brian Polian and Beau Baldwin as possible replacements.