Riley comes to Nebraska after 14 seasons as the head coach at Oregon State, 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,” Chancellor Harvey Perlman said. “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,” 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 Dec. 5, 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 Feb. 28, 2020.