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Shawn Eichorst

University of Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst discusses the firing of Head Football Coach Bo Pelini during a press conference at Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. 

During the early stages of calling folks about Mike Riley, you learn one thing off the bat.

He's well-respected in coaching circles.

Of course, anybody who's followed college football and football in general knows Riley has a strong coaching reputation.

"He has a reputation as a good guy -- and a good communicator," said a long-time college coach/coordinator. "He has a good defensive coordinator in Mark Banker."

The coach's reaction to the hire?

"Shock."

He's not alone.

I'm not sure anybody saw this coming.

Talk about intrigue.

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Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst closed this deal quickly. It's his first high-profile hire as an AD. It could be a career-defining decision, and it's one nobody expected.

Talk about intrigue.

His "search" never even approached becoming a circus. He evidently knew what he wanted, as we suspected.

Riley's resume doesn't blow your doors off, but Oregon State isn't exactly a program with a wealth of tradition. The Beavers were 5-7 this season, 2-7 in the Pac-12.

The 61-year-old is 93-80 overall at the school (.541), with no conference titles.

I bet this move is invigorating for him.

I'm willing to keep an open mind.

My initial reaction?

Very, very intrigued.

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