Mike and Dee Riley’s story first began when they met in college.
"My wife's a saint. We've moved quite a bit."
Mike and Dee Riley’s story first began when they met in college. "We met at the University of Alabama through a friend that played on the football team there with me, Robert Fraley. Robert knew all the girls.
Malorie says, "Including Dee?"
Coach Riley, "Including Dee, right!"
Coach Riley’s career first sent him to the West Coast to the University of California Berkeley. He was a graduate assistant. He and Dee lost touch for awhile.
“I just called her one year...kind of out of the blue. I remember the date specifically because there's an end to this story. I called her on May 22nd and when she answered the phone it had been a long time since we even communicated and when she answered the phone I said, 'Happy Birthday, Dee' and she said my birthday is May 2nd!”
Despite that, Dee married Mike and followed him wherever his coaching career would take them. At one point, it took them to Canada. They spent seven years there. Their two children, Matt and Kate, were born there.
“Matt is working in the video website world down in Austin, Texas. My daughter is still home with my wife in Corvallis today. She has a little boy who is the apple of everyone’s eye, our grandson Eli. He’s 3.”
Eli is already stealing the hearts of Nebraska fans. Coach Riley held his grandson as he watched Nebraska battle it out in the Holiday Bowl. “He'll walk in my office, and he's pretty confident, and he'll say, 'It's time to play granddaddy!' laughed Riley. “So it’s time to play!”
Riley and Dee thought Oregon State would be their final stop, but then, a chance to lead the Huskers. “At this stage of my career and my age. If we want to do one more thing new and exciting, especially a special place like this, it's probably not going to come around again. So we decided to do it!"
It’s that strong support from his family, something he carries from home to the football field. "For our coaches, our families will be included. I like for our players to know our families and see our coaches as kind of a model for them. Not just being a coach but being a husband, being a father. I like that part of it.”
Coach Riley says right now his focus is on building the best football team he possibly can. And when he eventually gets some down time?
“I enjoy very simple things outside of my job. Whether it’s just doing something with my family in some regard, whether it’s going downtown with my grandson and finding the best ice cream shop. Simple stuff.”
But it’s the simple stuff, and teaching strong family values, that coach Riley believes builds better football players. “I know these are parts of the program that I won’t compromise. This is the way we’re going to do it. We’re going to try to do it the right way and what’s best for young men. And we’re going to win games.”