Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst introduced the biggest coach he’s ever hired this morning. I like what Eichorst had to say. He said we’re going to win championships the right way, “with class, sportsmanship and integrity.”
He added, “We will win with young men and women who want to earn their degrees and who will represent us the Nebraska way.” It’s a condemnation of what went before and also a strong statement about what it means to be a Husker today.
Coach Riley mentioned that the Nebraska job was the right opportunity at the right time. I can’t help but note that it’s also quite likely Riley’s dream job, and one it took him four decades to land.
While Riley didn’t take the job for money, he did get a $1.2 million raise to $2.7 million per year, according to The Omaha World Herald. An extra $100K a month is one heck of a bonus, especially in a market where it is hard to find a home priced over $1 million.
Riley is a young 61. He drives a Prius…when he drives. He prefers to ride his bike to work. He’s an energetic, but low key guy who happens to be an elite football coach. In Lincoln, he can be both of these things, which is one more indication that this is a genius hire by Eichorst.
Oregonians and Nebraskans share many commonalities. Both reside in agricultural states where “salt of the Earth” residents are the norm. I am sure the Riley family will miss living in the cozy hamlet of Corvallis. But, I also believe Mike and Dee Riley will soon learn to love Lincoln, and that Husker Nation will learn to love them back.