Athletic Director Bob De Carolis Comments On Mike Riley Hire

Feb. 20, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Athletic Director Bob De Carolis

'There's a lot of gratitude to coach Erickson and his staff for four years ago coming in here and doing what they did to take us to the next level - I don't think anybody thought that was going to happen. So we wish him a lot of success in the future with the 49ers and thank him for what's happened at Oregon State.'

'I'd also like to thank the members of the committee - Kevin Anderson, Todd Stansbury, Steve Preece, special thanks to consultants Bob Clifford, Bob Grim, who really helped a lot through this process and getting us information, and in particular, our president White, who was there every step of the way. Thank goodness he was in Washington and stuck in a snowstorm because we were able to do a five-hour conference call as we went through the candidates. Quite frankly that delayed the process a little bit until he got back.'

'As we went into this, this was a unique situation because it wasn't like we were replacing a coach from a 3-8 team. We had success here over four years, and we had a very good staff. So the question became, 'Do you break it and do something different or do you stay status quo?' Because of that, we had two components of potential candidates - we had the internal component and the external component.'

'As we looked at the external component, we decided that from that group, head coaching experience was vital at the Division I level. Somebody who had west coast ties particularly in recruiting was essential. Football knowledge, particularly on both sides of the ball, would be very helpful. The ability to transition this team, because it was a good team, a team that is poised to contend for the Pac-10 Championship and the Rose Bowl. The ability to keep the momentum going for Raising Reser, which is vital to the success of this program and to continue what we've already started with the maximization of the student-athletes athletically, academically and in social responsibility. Those were all keys that we were looking for.'

'I stood before you last Tuesday, and the question was, 'Do you have a short list?' My response was, 'No, I have a long list.' At some point in time, we used that criteria, those goals I just mentioned, and we started to skinny that down. Once we skinnied that down to a workable number, we went into the interview process, both on the external and the internal side. Again, once you get that information and go through that process of interviewing, you take that information and you check it against your goals and your criteria. That's where the five-hour conference call came from.'

'From there, you're going on a lot of input. There were a lot of people that had an opinion of a lot of candidates.'

'Presidential involvement was very important. I decided that we were not going to offer the job to somebody until the president and I were able to sit down eyeball to eyeball and ask some tough questions. With Tim being on the East Coast, that maybe made that process go a little longer than what we'd hoped.'

'But, at the end of the day, we went and talked with coach Riley to ask those questions and to sit eyeball to eyeball. If it was a positive response, then we would offer him the job. If it was not, we would go to plan two. We were prepared to do that.'

'Just to underline that point, when we did offer the job to Mike at about 5:10 Pacific time, even though members of the media had reported at 4:00 that it was a done deal, we almost missed our flight because Mike's bags weren't packed. He didn't know whether he had the job or not, and I think that's an important point.'

'Why Mike Riley? I was here April of 1998, so I saw firsthand what happened to this program in what was the second year of Mike Riley. I think back to the state of the program at that time, with the lack of resources that we had and what Mike was able to do with a team that was loaded with wishbone players and he's running a spread offense. The phrase 'hoping to win' went out the door. We can win, and we can compete. He gave us a belief that we could do that. A lot of you will talk about the double overtime victory against the Ducks, but for me, the turning point in this program was that Washington game. The decision that he made when we drive 70-some yards in three plays with no timeouts and he says, 'We're going for two.' That told our team, no more moral victories. We're here to win. To see those guys cry after the game meant they had bought in. To me, that was the defining moment of this program.'

'When you look at that, over the years, I'd always said to myself, 'What if?' What if he had stayed? What if he were able to have a chance with the resources that we have now? From a sports standpoint, the Truax Indoor Center, Raising Reser, all those things. And let's mention a pretty good darn football team. What could he do?'

'When you look at the recruiting, 17 out of 24 starting members of the Fiesta Bowl team, he recruited. Jonathan Smith, Ken Simonton, James Allen, Darnell Robinson, All-American Chris Gibson, just to name a few. When you look at his experience as a head coach in Canada, at the college level and what he learned in the pros, it's very important.'

'I think the crux came to me while thinking about our game on the 6th of December this year against the Trojans at the Coliseum that hopefully will launch us into the Rose Bowl. I look across the field, I see Pete Carroll, who's supposed to be the guru of college football on defense, and up in the box, Norm Chow is supposed the guru on offense, and I say, 'Who do I have on our side?' When I get a call from Steve Mariucci that says this is the guy you oughta to hire, when I get a call from Brian Billick who says this is the guy you're supposed to hire, when I get a call from Jon Gruden that says this is the guy you're supposed to hire, well, we're going to go out and hire him.'

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