Mike Riley just can’t stay away from Oregon State for long.
Three years after moving on to Nebraska after two stints as the head coach of the Beavers, Riley is coming back “home” to Oregon State as an assistant head coach without an actual position assignment under first-year coach Jonathan Smith.
“Current and former players thriving in the NFL and in life are proof of Coach Riley’s tremendous ability to recruit outstanding young men,” Smith said in a statement released by the school. “He understands what it takes to win in this conference, and how to evaluate and develop student-athletes. There is no one better to have represent OSU in the homes of recruits as we build this program.”
Riley went 93-80 in two stints as the head coach of the Beavers (1997-98, 2003-14), was the Pac-10 coach of the year in 2008 when the Beavers went 9-4 and upset then-No. 1 USC in Corvallis. He led the program to eight bowl games, a 10-win season in 2006 and will offer stability to a program that needs it. His 93 wins are the most for a head coach in program history.
But with Smith — who was a quarterback on Riley’s Oregon State team in 1998 — being a first time coach, part of his job description will undoubtedly be as a mentor and a common sense coach for Smith, who will be asked to make decisions that he has never made before now that he has the big office in the complex.
After moving on from Oregon State after the 2014 season, Riley went 19-19 (12-14 Big Ten) in three seasons as the coach of the Cornhuskers. He was fired following the season and replaced by Scott Frost.