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Nebraska hires Mike Riley as coach

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska has hired Mike Riley to lead its football program.

Riley, 61, comes from Oregon State, where he coached since 2003 after a three-year stint as coach of the San Diego Chargers.

"It is truly an honor to join the University of Nebraska family," Riley said in a statement released by Nebraska. "Though we love Corvallis and Oregon State, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach at one of the nation's most storied football programs and I can't wait to get started."

Riley will be introduced at a news conference Friday morning at Memorial Stadium. The coach will begin work immediately but will not be involved in bowl preparation.

Nebraska finished the regular season at 9-3 under Bo Pelini, who was fired this week after seven seasons, and will learn its postseason destination Sunday.

Barney Cotton, an assistant under Pelini and a former Nebraska lineman, will coach the Huskers in their final game of the season.

Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst chose Riley at the conclusion of a stealth search. Dozens of names surfaced in speculation, including former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, but never the coach of the Beavers. Oregon State finished 5-7 this season.

"There was one coach who fit all the characteristics that I was seeking to lead our tradition-rich football program," Eichorst said. "Mike Riley has a proven record of success, a sound approach to football and teaching, an understanding of the educational mission of our university and the integrity and values that we cherish at Nebraska.

"I have no doubt that Mike will assemble a tremendous staff and lead our student-athletes to win Big Ten titles and compete for national championships in the years ahead."

Riley is 93-80 as a college coach, a native of Wallace, Idaho, and a former defensive back under Paul "Bear" Bryant at Alabama.