Why Mike Riley’s departure from Oregon State is a win all the way around
It wasn’t shocking news today that the University of Nebraksa plucked its next head coach from an Oregon college. The shocking news was that it wasn’t former Cornhusker national-champion quarterback and current Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, but the coach who has seemingly been at Oregon State forever, Mike Riley who was named the newest head coach at Nebraska. Riley replaces Bo Pellini, who was good at Nebraska but not good enough and was let go last week.
As the phrase goes, parting is such sweet sorrow but I feel this is a good move for all of the parties involved.
It’s a very good move for the University of Nebraska…it’s getting a coach who has been a head coach of a successful program and one who has coached in the NFL to boot. It’s also getting a good recruiter (if you can get people to come play football for Oregon’s “little brother” you can certainly get them to come to Nebraska to play) and a nice, even-keeled guy who is the polar opposite of Pellini who yelled and screamed with the best of them. Perhaps Riley will be the one to return Nebraska to the spot it held in the 80s and 90s as one of the top college football programs in the country.
Speaking of Riley, it’s a really good move for him too. By several accounts he was growing tired of losing the facilities battle and losing the top kids to the University of Oregon. And he could see the writing on the wall – the Beavers are losing nine of their 11 starters on defense and their very, very good quarterback. One more subpar season and he very well could have been fired and at age 61 would have a hard time finding another coaching gig.
And for Oregon State it may look like a bad thing, but when you look at the whole doughnut instead of the hole in the doughnut, it turns out to be a good thing. The program had become stale under Riley and if he was indeed let go after next season the cash-strapped school would have to buy him out. Perhaps a new coach will convince the school to use the millions generated from the conference’s TV deal to upgrade the facilities as OSU is really, really losing the battle there to not only Oregon, but the rest of the Pac-12 conference schools as well.
So this could be the rarest of the rare occurences where this is a win for all parties involved. And where I sit from the cheap seats this win, win, win will probably translate into more wins for the football team and perhaps the Civil War game will be much more competitive than this year’s blowout. More wins = more $$$ from boosters = more kids deciding that Oregon State will be a better place to play and watch football and once again rise to the elite of the Pac-12. Which would be a bad thing for the rest of the conference.