Nebraska's staff is again complete after coach Mike Riley announced Wednesday the hirings of ex-Cornhuskers star John Parrella to coach the defensive line coach and former NFL executive Billy Devaney to fill an administrative role.
Parrella, 46, coached the same position group for the past two seasons at Division II Northern Michigan after stints in junior college and high school in California following a 12-year NFL career.
He replaces Hank Hughes, who was fired by Riley after one season at Nebraska, and creates a connection to the Nebraska past that was largely absent in Riley's first season.
Parrella attended high school in Grand Island, Nebraska, and walked on for coach Tom Osborne in 1988. He was a first-team All-Big Eight defensive tackle in 1992 and a second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1993.
“We are proud to bring John Parrella home to Nebraska,” Riley said in a statement. “John will bring great energy and expertise to our defensive staff. He knows what it means to wear a Blackshirt and has the personality to connect with his players and prospective student-athletes.”
Inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2001, Parrella played for the Bills, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, retiring in 2004. His most productive seasons, in 1999 and 2000, came under Riley, who coached the Chargers for three seasons between stints at Oregon State.
Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker worked on Riley’s staff in San Diego.
Parrella is the first former Nebraska player hired by Riley for a full-time coaching position. His hire fills the only position on Riley’s staff open after the Huskers’ 6-7 finish in 2015.
Devaney will serve at Nebraska as executive director of player personnel and special assistant to the head coach. He worked for more than three decades in the NFL, ascending to general manager of the St. Louis Rams from 2008 to 2011. Devaney was most recently a scout for the Atlanta Falcons and worked as an NFL analyst for ESPN in 2013.
He spent a decade as director of pro personnel with the Chargers, also crossing paths with Riley.