Mike Riley Named Football Coach
Feb. 19, 2003
Mike Riley has been named the head football coach at Oregon State University, Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis announced Wednesday.
Riley, 49, replaces Dennis Erickson, who accepted the head coaching position of the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11. Riley returns to Oregon State after serving as head coach during the 1997-98 seasons. He led the Beavers to a two-year mark of 8-14, and is widely considered the person who started the football renaissance at the school.
During Riley's tenure, the coaching staff recruited future starters Jonathan Smith, Ken Simonton, James Allen, Ryan Atkinson, Calvin Carlyle, Chris Gibson, Keith Heyward-Johnson, Shawn Kintner, Mike Kuykendall, Marty Maurer, Darnell Robinson, Kyle Rosselle, and Vincent Sandoval. Ten of those individuals started in the 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, with Smith earning the bowl game's Most Valuable Offensive Player and Robinson the Most Valuable Defensive Player honors. Riley also had verbal commitments from many of former head coach Dennis Erickson's first recruiting class in February of 1999, and several of those student-athletes have participated in three bowl games during the last four seasons.
Riley inherited an OSU program that had won just three games in the combined 1995-96 seasons. The Beavers won all three non-conference contests in the first season under Riley in 1997, and were 5-6 in 1998. The five-win season was the program's best since 1971, and included a 44-41 double-overtime victory over Oregon in Corvallis. The Beavers also suffered one-point losses to Washington and California, and a seven-point defeat to No. 3 UCLA. Riley's teams were a perfect 6-0 in non-conference games.
The opportunity to coach in the National Football League was presented following the 1998 season, and Riley was hired to lead the San Diego Chargers. He spent three years with the Chargers, and the 2002 season as assistant head coach with the New Orleans Saints.
Riley began his coaching career in 1975 at California as a graduate assistant. He spent the '76 season in a similar capacity at Whitworth College in Spokane, before landing a full-time position as defensive coordinator at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., from 1977-82. He moved to the professional level in 1983 as the secondary coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, where he stayed until 1985. In 1986 he returned to the college ranks as defensive coordinator at Northern Colorado.
His first position as head coach came in Winnipeg in 1987. He led the Bombers for four years, earning two Grey Cup titles and being selected the CFL Coach of the Year twice. He moved to the World League, where he was the head coach at San Antonio for two years (1991-92), before returning to the college level in 1993 at Southern California. He served as the Trojans' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for four seasons, helping the program to three bowl game victories, including the 1996 Rose Bowl.
Riley played college football at Alabama, where he was a four-year letterman as a defensive back under legendary coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant. During his playing career (1971-74), the Crimson Tide won four Southeastern Conference titles and the 1973 national championship. He earned a bachelor's degree in social science from Alabama in 1975.
Riley was born in Wallace, Idaho, but spent most of his youth in Corvallis. He participated in football, basketball, and baseball at Corvallis High School, and quarterbacked the football team to the 1970 state title.
His father, Bud Riley, was an assistant at Oregon State from 1965-72, and again in 1979. Mike's immediate family includes his wife Dee, a son Matthew, and daughter Kate.
Mike Riley's Coaching Resume
1975 Graduate Assistant Coach, University of California1976 Graduate Assistant Coach, Whitworth College (Spokane)1977-82 Defensive Coordinator, Linfield College (McMinnville, OR)1983-85 Secondary Coach, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL)1986 Defensive Coordinator, Northern Colorado University1987-90 Head Coach, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL)Grey Cup champions in 1990, two-time CFL Coach of the Year1991-92 Head Coach, San Antonio Riders (World League)1993-96 Offensive Coordinator, University of Southern California1997-98 Head Coach, Oregon State University1999-2001 Head Coach, San Diego Chargers (NFL)2002 Assistant Head Coach, New Orleans Saints (NFL