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Mike Riley on accepting the Nebraska job: ‘I kind of surprised myself’

Mike Riley didn’t only shock most people in the world of college football by leaving Oregon State to accept the Nebraska head coaching job, he also shocked himself. After spending 14 seasons over two tenures in Corvallis, Riley was tabbed as the man who would replace Bo Pelini in Lincoln.

“I kind of surprised myself,” Riley told The Jim Rome Show. “I thought I would retire in Corvallis and you know it’s just one of those things that kind of felt right time, right place and you look at my age and stage of my career, if I was ever going to try something different or new, this was probably it, and with the time and the place and the people I knew from here I did it. And yes, it was shocking to me that I said yes because I never thought I’d reach that point.”

At 61-years old, Riley felt he was ready for a new challenge.

“It was really a point of the timing of this thing and the opportunity, do I want to make one more move in my career and take a shot at something else,” Riley said. “And that’s what it really boiled down to for my wife and I.”

Riley admitted everything about this Nebraska adventure is a first for him.

“This being totally new, new league, new place for my family in my whole history, I’d never even been to Lincoln before,” said Riley. “I’ve been to a lot of different places in the country, but never Lincoln.”

The head coach understands the uncertainty and concern among Nebraska fans about his hiring after a 5-7 season at Oregon State.

“The only way you’re going to be able to say this is ok is to win games,” said Riley, and admitted. “If it was just based on last year’s record, I probably wouldn’t be here.”

  • Mike Riley
  • Dec 15th 2014