Mike Riley reflects on time at Nebraska, still grateful for opportunity in Lincoln
When Mike Riley was relieved of his duties as the head coach at Nebraska after the 2017 season, he handled the situation like a true professional. In his final press conference in Lincoln, he called the university an “awesome place.”
A year later, Riley still feels the same way.
The former Nebraska head coach — and current head coach of the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders — appeared on The Bottom Line podcast to talk about his time in Lincoln. He’s still very grateful for the chance to coach at such a prestigious program.
“I’m just generally very happy that I got to do that at such a special place,” Riley said on The Bottom Line. “I met so many good people. It was fun to get to be a part of.”
Riley was 19-19 in three seasons with the Huskers. While he did enjoy a successful 2016 season, finishing 9-4 and being ranked as high as No. 7 in the country, his tenure was bookended by two dreadful campaigns. In his first season (2015), the Huskers finished 6-7. In 2017, Nebraska was 4-8 and missed a bowl game.
He was fired after the 2017 season by new athletic director Bill Moos, who then brought in Scott Frost.
Though Riley is mostly thankful for the opportunity and enjoyed his time in Lincoln, he did say he there are some things he would do differently if given the chance. He also said he had one regret entering his final year: switching to a 3-4 defense.
“It was too big of a change for our people to go from the 4-3 to the 3-4 in one year,” Riley said. “And expect us to function as well as we had instead of just taking what we had and improving it.”
Riley might not have been the right guy for the job in Lincoln, but he’s remained appreciative of the opportunity and doesn’t appear to have any hard feelings against the program.
He might not have won a lot of games, but it’s hard not to like his attitude.