Welcome to the first Monday of 2015. No need to beat around the bush. It’s time to get down to business.
Buried in the 17th paragraph of Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain’s account of following new Husker head coach Mike Riley around the Holiday Bowl was this observation:
Riley isn’t “cool” like Tim Miles. The man is 61 years old, for goodness sakes. But he is respected.
First off, aside from goody two shoes named Dirk, who under the age of 61 has ever used the phrase for goodness sakes?
Second off, was that Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain’s subtle way of planting the first seeds of doubt about Riley’s abilities to lead the Huskers at such an advanced age?
Before we proceed any further, consider this: Without even coaching a single game, Mike Riley already holds the record for oldest head coach in Husker football history. By the time the 2015 season kicks off, he’ll be 62.
Tom Osborne coached his last game at 60.
Frank Solich was fired at 59.
Bob Devaney was 56 when he turned the reigns over to TO. And if you’re keeping score at home, Devaney was the very first to lead the Big Red while in his 50s.
Trust us, we looked at every Huskers head coach all the way back to the Bugeaters era.
Along the way, we did make the amazing discovery that Ewald O. Stiehm was the head coach of the Husker football AND basketball teams during his time at dear old Nebraska U. from 1911 – 1915. He did he same at Indiana for a couple years before dying of stomach cancer at age 37. Could modern medicine prove that Stiehm simply had a gnarly ulcer from the stress of coaching two teams?
So back to Mike Riley. As a senior citizen, does he have the vim and vigor lead the Huskers?
We think so.
Here’s the main thing to consider in our assessment: Mike Riley has spent the bulk of his life living in crunchy Corvalis, Oregon. Clean air, organic food, mild temperatures year-round, and a small fan base that doesn’t exactly have high demands has kept Riley from aging like a typical football coach.
While the license that enables him to drive his Toyota Prius says he’s 61, Riley can’t be older than 45 in coaching years.
Give him a season or two at the helm of the Big Red and we’ll find out exactly how old he is.
And if you’re still worried about Riley’s age, consider these elderly dudes.