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Nebraska Introduces New Head Coach Mike Riley

Introducing the new Cornhusker head coach, Mike Riley.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska introduced their new football coach today at a press conference at One Memorial. Let's take a look at what's being said.

From the Athletic Department:

The University of Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst announced the hiring of Mike Riley as the Huskers new Head Football Coach on Thursday, December 4. On Friday, Coach Riley was formally introduced at a news conference held in Memorial Stadium.

Coach Riley comes to Nebraska after 14 seasons as the head coach at Oregon State University, spanning two different tenures in Corvallis (1997-98 and 2003-14). Riley led OSU to 93 wins and a 6-2 record in postseason bowl games.

In addition to his time at Oregon State, Riley served as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers (1999-2001) the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (1987-90), with whom he won two Grey Cup Championships, and the San Antonio Riders in the World League of American Football (1991-92). With 40 years of coaching experience, Riley also served as an assistant coach at California, USC, Linfield College, Whitworth and Northern Colorado as well as with the New Orleans Saints and in the Canadian Football League.

"There was one coach who fit all the characteristics that I was seeking to lead our tradition-rich football program," Eichorst said. "Mike Riley has a proven record of success, a sound approach to football and teaching, an understanding of the educational mission of our university and the integrity and values that we cherish at Nebraska. I have no doubt that Mike will assemble a tremendous staff and lead our student-athletes to win Big Ten titles and compete for national championships in the years ahead."

"We have high expectations of the men and women who teach and coach our students and Mike Riley is an outstanding addition to our family," added UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman. "I want to welcome Mike and his family to Nebraska and thank Shawn Eichorst for his great efforts in bringing Mike to Lincoln."

"It is truly an honor to join the University of Nebraska family," Coach Riley said. "Though we love Corvallis and Oregon State, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach at one of the nation's most storied football programs and I can't wait to get started. My sincere thanks to Chancellor Perlman and Shawn Eichorst for their confidence in me and I look forward to becoming a part of the Nebraska family and building upon the great history and tradition."

Riley is a native of Idaho and a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he played for Paul "Bear" Bryant and won three SEC titles and one National Championship. He earned his bachelor's degree in Social Science and his master's degree in Physical Education from Whitworth. Mike and his wife, Dee, have two children, Matthew and Kate, and one grandchild, Eli.

Coach Riley will assume his duties immediately, but will not coach the Huskers in the upcoming bowl game as Interim Head Coach Barney Cotton will coach the team through the bowl. Effective today, Riley's contract specifies an annual salary of $2.7 million with automatic $100,000 increases in each of the five years of the contract (through February 28, 2020).

Some quick hits from the presser:

  • When asked about his offense, Coach Riley indicated that while he's frequently associated with a pro-style offense, he prefers to fit his offense to the personnel.
  • His focus is on being sure the offense has an identity.
  • The QB is a very critical position and he'll have a hand in that.
  • I didn't catch any discussion of the defense so no idea about the Blackshirts. I suspect if former coaches or players let him know, Riley will implement it, as God intended.
  • Intends to reach out to former coaches (Solich, Osborne, and Callahan, maybe Pelini) for advice and insights about the Nebraska job.
  • His knowledge of Nebraska extends for their national reputation, particularly their run under Devaney and Osborne.
  • Calls himself a football junkie, which means, of course, we now have a football dork to go along with our basketball dork. (Who invited Riley to visit him since he probably "doesn't have a lot to do".)
  • Mentioned that he respects the work Pelini and his staff did while understanding the business.
  • Recruiting will be different from his time at Oregon State but will continue to have a national focus.
  • Number one item on the list is getting the assistants hired and to start recruiting.
  • Will not coach in bowl game but intends to watch "as a fan"
  • Coach Riley was very much at ease in front of those assembled.
  • He wore a red tie.
  • No mention of cats.
More from Twitter:
The walk-on program?

Concerning assistants?



Oh yes and...


The search itself?

Interesting bit of trivia:

Oh, and Harvey Perlman appeared REALLY annoyed about the Brett Bielema reports.

I think we can stop worrying about the players.

Finally, Josh Mitchell has some words for us.

We'll add a video when available.

For more information, here's the central hub for about the hire.

Riley Profile
Date of Birth: July 6, 1953

Family: Wife, Dee; Son, Matthew; Daughter, Kate; Grandchild, Elijah Jo

Education: Alabama, Bachelor's of Social Science, 1975; Whitworth College, Master's Physical Education, 1977
Playing Experience: 1971-74, Alabama, Cornerback

Coaching Experience
1975 California, Graduate Assistant (Defense)
1976 Whitworth College, Graduate Assistant
1977-82 Linfield College, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
1983-85 Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL), Secondary Coach
1986 Northern Colorado, Defensive Coordinator
1987-90 Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL), Head Coach
1991-92 San Antonio Riders (WLAF), Head Coach
1993-96 USC, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
1997-98 Oregon State, Head Coach
1999-2001 San Diego Chargers, Head Coach
2002 New Orleans Saints, Assistant Head Coach/Secondary
2003-14 Oregon State, Head Coach

Head Coaching Record
Oregon State career record: 93-80 (14 seasons)
1997-98: 8-14 (2 seasons)
2003-14: 85-66 (12 seasons); 8 bowl appearances (6-2)
San Diego Chargers
1999-2001: 14-34 (3 seasons)
San Antonio Riders
1991-92: 11-9 (2 seasons)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
1987-90: 40-32 (4 seasons); 2 Grey Cup Championships

Welcome, Coach!