Mike Riley going back to Oregon State as the Beavers’ assistant head coach

Mike Riley going back to Oregon State as the Beavers’ assistant head coach
Mike Riley was head coach at Oregon State for 14 seasons over two separate stints. Riley is pictured here during a 2014 game with the Beavers. (The Associated Press)

Mike Riley is headed back to the Oregon State football staff.

The Beavers announced Thursday that Riley would be joining Jonathan Smith’s staff as assistant head coach. Riley previously was the Oregon State head coach from 2003 to 2014, and also 1997 to ’98.

Riley was fired Nov. 25 as head coach at Nebraska, after going 19-19 over three seasons with the Huskers.

Smith is a former Oregon State quarterback who spent his first season in Corvallis playing for Riley in 1998, then was a graduate assistant for Riley in 2003. Smith was hired Nov. 29 by the Beavers.

In addition to the assistant head coach title, according to an Oregon State release, Riley also will have a to-be-determined position assignment.

“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. “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.”

Also returning to Oregon State is Dan Van De Riet, who will be the Beavers’ chief of staff/director of football operations. Van De Riet had followed Riley from OSU to Nebraska and was the Huskers’ associate athletic director for football administration the last three years.

The Oregonian reported earlier this week that former Nebraska assistant Trent Bray also was expected to join the Beavers’ staff. The former Oregon State linebacker was not on the list of six hires announced Thursday by the university.

Bray had served as NU interim head coach between the firing of Riley and hiring of Scott Frost.

Riley, 64, told The World-Herald last week that he was packing up and returning to Corvallis to live, and said he would be open to an OSU position if it worked for Smith.

Regarding coaching again, however, Riley said: “I still feel young and have the energy to do it.”

Riley posted a 93-80 all-time record at Oregon State, including a 10-win season in 2006. He also previously was a head coach with San Diego in the NFL, Winnipeg in the CFL and San Antonio in the WLAF.

Per terms of his Nebraska contract, which runs through February of 2021, Riley could have been owed more than $6.6 million in compensation. But his monthly payments of $170,000 will now be adjusted based on what his Oregon State contract will pay him.

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