Mike Riley
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Oregon State
Conference Pac-12
Record 81–66 ()
Biographical details
Born July 6 1953 (1953-07-06) (age 67)
Place of birth Wallace, Idaho
Alma mater University of Alabama
Playing career
1971–1974 Alabama
Position(s) Defensive back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
California (GA)
Whitworth (GA)
Linfield (DC)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (DB)
Northern Colorado (DB)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
San Antonio Riders
Oregon State
San Diego Chargers
New Orleans Saints (AHC/DB)
Oregon State
Head coaching record
Overall 80–66 (, college)
14–34 (, NFL)
Bowls 5–1 ()
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Pac-10 Coach of the Year (2008)
Career player statistics (if any)'

Michael Joseph "Mike" Riley (born July 6, 1953) is an American football coach, currently the head coach of the Oregon State Beavers of the Pacific-12 Conference. Riley has also coached in several professional leagues, and is a former head coach of the San Diego Chargers of the NFL and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.

Early life and playing career[edit | edit source]

The son of a high school football coach, Riley was born in Wallace, Idaho, and spent his first dozen years in northern Idaho.[1] The family moved from Wallace down to Lewiston in 1959 and up to Moscow in 1962, when his father, Bud Riley, became a collegiate assistant coach for his alma mater, the Idaho Vandals, under new head coach Dee Andros. After three seasons on the Palouse, Andros was hired at Oregon State and Bud Riley joined him in Corvallis in 1965 for eight seasons, first as the secondary coach and later as defensive coordinator.[2]

Riley was a hometown hero in Corvallis from his athletic days at Corvallis High, where he led the Spartans as the starting quarterback to consecutive state title games in 1969 and 1970. CHS came up short against North Medford in 1969, 27–0, but avenged the loss the following season when they met Medford again and came out victorious 21–10.[3] As the son of a coach, Riley had a peripatetic youth and spent his first twelve years in northern Idaho, but he considers the college town of Corvallis his hometown, where he went to junior high and high school.

Riley graduated from CHS in 1971 and opted not to play his college football in the Pac-8, but for the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC under legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. He had family connections to the state and school: his father was born and raised in Guin and his uncle, Hayden Riley, was Alabama's head baseball coach (1970–79) and the former head basketball coach (1960–68).[1][4] (Mike's cousin, Major Ogilvie, would become a star running back for the Tide in the late 1970s; Ogilvie's mother Peggy is one of Bud Riley's five sisters.) [5][6] In his four seasons at Alabama as a reserve defensive back,[7] the Tide won four SEC titles and the 1973 UPI (Coaches' Poll) national championship, though they lost the 1973 Sugar Bowl to Notre Dame on New Year's Eve. (Until 1974, the final Coaches' Poll was released before the bowl games.)

Coaching career[edit | edit source]

Riley began his coaching career immediately after his playing days ended, first as a graduate assistant at California in 1975, and then as a graduate assistant at Whitworth University in Spokane, where he received his master's in physical education.

In 1977, he was hired as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. During his stay at Linfield he assisted head coach Ad Rutschman’s Wildcats to a six-year record of 52–7–1, which included five conference titles and an undefeated NAIA Division II championship season in 1982. He became an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League in 1983 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Hired at age 33, Riley became the youngest head coach in CFL history in 1987 at Winnipeg. He led the Blue Bombers from 1987–1990 and won two Grey Cups during his tenure. He also coached the San Antonio Riders of the defunct WLAF. He was hired to coach the San Antonio Texans of the CFL in 1993, but the team folded before it could begin play.

Riley returned to the college ranks in 1993 when USC head coach John Robinson offered him the position of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach; he later became assistant head coach. The Mesa Tribune named him the league’s top assistant coach in 1993 after leading the Trojan offense to record setting numbers. USC quarterback Rob Johnson earned numerous Pac-10 and NCAA records under Riley's tutelage and would later become a fourth-round NFL Draft pick. "He's a player's coach, who gets the most out of you by treating you like normal," Johnson later said.

Riley remained at USC through the 1996 season, helping the Trojans to post-season victories in the Freedom, Cotton, and Rose Bowls. USC won an outright league title, shared another, and finished second once.

Oregon State[edit | edit source]

Riley was hired as the head coach at Oregon State in 1997 to replace Jerry Pettibone, who had resigned at the end of the 1996 season. Riley's initial contract was a five-year deal at $185,000 per year.[8] In the Beavers' first season under Riley, they posted a record of 3–8. This was a difficult season for Riley as he attempted to run his NFL-style offense with players recruited by Pettibone to run the wishbone triple-option. The 1998 season was another big step in the right direction, with the Beavers posting a 5–6 record, their best record since 1971. The 1998 season was capped off by a double-overtime 44–41 win over the Oregon Ducks in the Civil War game.

Although his first stint with the Beavers only lasted two seasons, Riley is considered, by FSN commentators, to have laid the foundation for the success of the Beavers in the years to come.[9] The 1999 team, led by Dennis Erickson, posted a 7–5 record and earned a trip to the Oahu Bowl, which ended a streak of 28 straight losing seasons.

NFL[edit | edit source]

In January 1999, Riley left the Beavers to become the head coach of the San Diego Chargers of the NFL, signing a five-year deal at $750,000 per year.[10] Riley coached the Chargers from 1999 to 2001, with a record of 14–34. His last game was indicative of his last season, as the Chargers played well, but one poor play turned the tide. The 2001 Chargers ended their season with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, after Doug Flutie passed for 377 yards and drove for the tying field goal with 16 seconds remaining, but poor special teams play led to a long Seahawks kick return and subsequently a 54-yard winning field goal.

Riley was fired as head coach of the Chargers after three seasons[10] and was an assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints in 2002. He was offered the Alabama job in December 2002 after Dennis Franchione left for Texas A&M.[11] Riley was also under consideration for the UCLA job during that period.[12]

Return to Oregon State[edit | edit source]

After spending the 2002 season with the New Orleans Saints, Riley returned to Corvallis to become the head coach at Oregon State in 2003 following Erickson's departure to San Francisco of the NFL. Riley agreed to a seven-year contract that started at $625,000 per year and increased incrementally to $950,000 in year seven.[13]

Continuing on their new success, the Beavers won bowl games in 2003 and 2004 before having a down year in 2005.

After starting the 2006 season 2–3, the Beavers went 9–4 on the regular season, including an upset of #3 USC in Corvallis. The Beavers completed their impressive season with a win over Missouri in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, ending their season with a 10–4 record.

In 2007, the Beavers again started 2–3 and finished 8–4 on the regular season, including an upset of #2 Cal in Berkeley. The Beavers finished the year 9–4 with a win in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco over the Maryland Terrapins.

In 2008 Riley's Beavers knocked off #1-ranked USC 27–21 at Reser Stadium. The Beavers went into the Civil War with a chance to reach the Rose Bowl as Pac-10 champions but were defeated by Oregon, 65–38, and instead accepted another invitation to the third place Sun Bowl, where they beat Pittsburgh in a defensive struggle, 3–0.

Though winless in bowl games as a player, Riley has a 5–1 NCAA football bowl record as a head coach, having won the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl, 2004 Insight Bowl, 2006 Sun Bowl, 2007 Emerald Bowl, and 2008 Sun Bowl. Riley is a combined 8–1 in bowl games as a head or assistant coach. In the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl, the Beavers lost to the BYU Cougars of the Mountain West Conference.

In Riley's second stint at OSU, the Beavers have produced three current NFL quarterbacks, Sean Canfield, Matt Moore, and Derek Anderson.

Following the 2009 season, Riley was rumored to be up for the USC vacancy created by the resignation of Pete Carroll. Those rumors were put to rest when Riley signed a three-year extension at OSU through the 2019 season.

During the 2012 season, Riley snatched his 75th career win surpassing Lon Stiner as Oregon State's all time winningest coach.

Head coaching record[edit | edit source]

CFL coaching record[edit | edit source]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Result
WPG 1987 12 6 0 .667 1st in East Division 0 1 Lost in East Final
WPG 1988 9 9 0 .500 2nd in East Division 3 0 Won Grey Cup
WPG 1989 7 11 0 .389 3rd in East Division 1 1 Lost in East Final
WPG 1990 12 6 0 .667 1st in East Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
Total 40 32 0 .556 2 Division
6 2 2 Grey Cups

College[edit | edit source]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Oregon State Beavers (Pac-10/Pac-12) (1997–present)
1997 Oregon State 3–8 0–8 10th
1998 Oregon State 5–6 2–6 T–8th
2003 Oregon State 8–5 4–4 T–5th W Las Vegas
2004 Oregon State 7–5 5–3 T–3rd W Insight
2005 Oregon State 5–6 3–5 7th
2006 Oregon State 10–4 6–3 3rd W Sun 22 21
2007 Oregon State 9–4 6–3 3rd W Emerald 25
2008 Oregon State 9–4 7–2 T–2nd W Sun 19 18
2009 Oregon State 8–5 6–3 T–2nd L Las Vegas
2010 Oregon State 5–7 4–5 T–5th
2011 Oregon State 3–9 3–6 5th (North)
2012 Oregon State 9–4 6–3 3rd (North) L Alamo
Oregon State: 81–66 52–51
Total: 81–66
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Lewiston Morning Tribune – Bud Riley named Idaho assistant – 1962-05-27 – p.11
  2. Down-home hero comes home again. The Register-Guard (2003-02-23). Retrieved on 2008-12-01.
  3. Corvallis High Football History. corvallishighfootball.com. Retrieved on 2007-12-20.
  4. Tuscaloosa News – Riley overlooked by Alabama Sports Hall of Fame – 1996-02-21 – p.2C
  5. The Oregonian – The lives of two Rileys define Oregon State football – 2009-12-02
  6. obits.dignitymemorial.com – Margaret Riley Watkins (1933–2010) – sister of Bud Riley – accessed 2012-03-30
  7. Tuscaloosa News – Holidays offer more than a visit home – 1987-12-27 – p.7B
  8. Seattle Times – Husky Football – Riley's Stock Skyrockets In Corvallis – 1999-01-01
  9. Mentioned in FSN's coverage of UW vs. OSU game on October 7th, 2000.
  10. 10.0 10.1 OregonLive.com – Oregon State Insider: Mike Riley, and his dad Bud Riley, both know the sting of being fired – 2011-10-13
  11. Hurt, Cecil. "The No Riley Factor: UA search begins anew", December 14, 2002. Retrieved on November 29, 2010. 
  12. Witz, Billy. "UCLA expected to meet with Riley Tuesday", December 10, 2002. Retrieved on November 29, 2010. 
  13. Seattle Times – Riley learns you can go home again – 2003-02-21

External links[edit | edit source]

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