Mike Riley leaves Oregon State

Mike Riley (in brown) prepares to board a plane, which will bring him to Lincoln.

Last weekend, Mike Riley was discussing the future of Oregon State football following a loss to Oregon in the Civil War.

On Thursday afternoon, Riley was on a charter flight headed from Corvallis to Lincoln, Nebraska, to be introduced as Nebraska’s new head coach.

It was a whirlwind turn of events for Riley and the two football programs.

“It was out of the blue,” Riley said Thursday afternoon before boarding a plane to Lincoln.

The move to Nebraska became possible when Bo Pelini was dismissed after the Huskers’ final game of the regular season.

Pelini went 67-27 in seven seasons but struggled against ranked teams and did not win more than 10 games in a season, although he consistently hit nine or 10 wins.

Riley said he did not think about the opening or consider it when he heard the news.

“It didn’t have anything to do with that, nor was it something I was pursuing,” he said.

Riley met with Oregon State players on Thursday morning at the Valley Football Center.

Sports information director Steve Fenk said it was a tough meeting for all involved.

“Coach Riley told the team,” Fenk said. “It was emotional, no question, for the players especially.”

Riley eventually made his way to the Corvallis Municipal Airport, where he boarded a Maya Air charter jet that had flown in from Denver.

He was scheduled to talk to Nebraska players on Thursday evening.


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