Oregon State head coach Mike Riley appeared on the Wetzel to Forde radio show last night, and Dan Wetzel asked Riley about coaching at a school where the head coach is given time to build a program and national championship teams aren’t expected to be built in a fortnight.
Riley answered explained his gratitude to Oregon State’s loyalty to him, and in return, his loyalty to Oregon State.
“I’m very appreciative of all of that because when you’re in this long enough you understand the business and you have to win games,” Riley said. “I’m very thankful for the people at Oregon State. First of all, when we came back here and were given the opportunity to come back in 2003, my wife and I hoped we could make this our last stop so we scratched and clawed to try to keep it like that.
“I’ve understood how important consistency and longevity are in a program,” he continued. “And then understanding you’re going to have some valleys and you’ve got to fight hard to make those valleys not too deep. You’ve got to be consistent and continue to build. It’s really a unique thing in our business. I’ve learned some hard lessons and to be able to build (a program), it’s hard to come by. I’m thankful for all that and appreciative for the time.”
Riley served as the head coach at Oregon State in 1997 and 1998, going 8-14 before becoming the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. He stayed in San Diego until 2001 and, after a one-year stop with the New Orleans Saints, returned as the Beavers’ head coach in 2003.
Riley led Oregon State to bowl games in six of his first seven seasons before a two-year downturn in 2010 and 2011 in which the Beavers won just eight games. Riley’s team was picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North in 2012 only to start the year 6-0 and rise to No. 7 in the BCS Standings.
No matter where Oregon State finishes this season, Riley plans to coach the Beavers again in 2013.
“I’ve learned the lesson that if you’re happy – stay happy,” Riley said. “You don’t have to go search for it somewhere else.”