Mike Riley is returning to Oregon State.
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.
Smith, a former Beavers quarterback, was a graduate assistant at Oregon State under Riley in 2003. Smith was hired Nov. 29 by the Beavers after a 1-11 season that included Gary Andersen resigning midway through his third year.
In addition to the assistant head coach title, according to an Oregon State release, Riley also will have a to-be-determined position assignment.
During his time with the Beavers, Riley developed a reputation for developing quarterbacks and pulling the occasional big upset. With a stint in the NFL as coach of the San Diego Chargers, he also showed a knack for recruiting players who were successful at the pro level.
“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 Oregon State. “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 grew up in Corvallis, and his father Bud was an assistant at Oregon State.
Smith came to the Beavers from Washington, where he was quarterbacks coach under Chris Petersen. A walk-on at Oregon State, he helped lead the Beavers to a Fiesta Bowl victory following the 2000 season.
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 past three years.
Several outlets 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 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.
“Jonathan needs to enjoy being named head coach,” Riley said. “If there’s a fit somewhere — coach or consult — yeah, that’d be awesome. But it has to be the right fit for him.”
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 eight bowl trips and a 10-win season in 2006. His Beavers famously knocked off No. 3 Southern California at home in 2006, No. 2 California on the road in 2007, No. 1 USC at home in 2008 and No. 9 Arizona on the road in 2010.
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 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.