Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Hiring of Mike Riley

Note: This is the 3rd part of a multi-post look at the current state of Oregon State football. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, and Part 4 is here.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I didn't want Oregon State to re-hire Mike Riley after Dennis Erickson left the program. I would have much rather have had Oregon State hire Dan Hawkins. Hawkins had been a tremendously success coach at Willamette University as well as at Boise State and the feeling was that if Oregon State gave him a good enough offer, that Hawkins could be had.
However, Oregon State decided that Mike Riley was their man, and hired him.

At the time I wondered why Oregon State would chose Riley over Hawkins. Here is what I have been able to piece together:
  • Riley interviewed for the head coaching job at both Alabama and UCLA. Riley was even offered the job at Alabama, which he turned because he was waiting to see what UCLA would do.
  • Riley was originally the first choice for the head coaching position at UCLA, but was never offered it. Apparently when Riley was interviewed for the UCLA job he treated it very casually, like him becoming the football coach was already a done deal. He was dressed in a polo shirt and didn't really have any firm ideas about what he wanted to do with the players that were already in the program. This didn't sit very well with the UCLA folks. However, when Dorrell interviewed for the same position, he came dressed in a suit and he had studied the players in the program and knew what he wanted to do if he got the job.
  • Allegedly the people at Oregon State wanted to hire Hawkins over Riley, but the schools most prominent booster Al Reser, who's family-owned company owns the naming rights to OSU's football stadium, really liked Mike Riley and threatened to pull his support of the athletic program if Riley wasn't hired. The timeline given on the article announcing Riley's hiring seems to support this. From the article:

Four years after leaving the resurgent Beavers for the NFL, Riley agreed to a deal Wednesday to replace Dennis Erickson, who left last week to coach the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49-year-old Riley, defensive backs coach for the New Orleans Saints last season, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. A news conference formally introducing him as the Beavers’ coach was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Riley was among several candidates athletic director Bob De Carolis interviewed, including Boise State coach Dan Hawkins and Beavers assistants Tim Lappano, Dan Cozetto and Gregg Smith.

Hawkins, considered among the front-runners for the job, pulled out of the running Wednesday morning. Hawaii coach June Jones withdrew his name from consideration last weekend.


So Hawkins was no longer considered for the job as of the Wednesday morning, and OSU had an agreement with Riley by that evening. So if Reser really did give the mandate that Riley be hired (and I believe that he did), then that would explain why Riley was hired so quickly.

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