Tag Archives: steve spurrier

Is Mike Riley Too Old to Coach the Huskers?

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?

Mike Riley Holiday Bowl
Senior Citizen and Husker head coach Mike Riley looking young and hip in a hoodie at the 2014 Holiday Bowl.

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.

Mike Riley Rides A Bike
A regular workout and diet plan routine, such as riding a bicycle can keep a person feeling young.

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.

steve spurrier
Steve Spurrier, still rocking the visor at age 69, dude.

Bill SnyderBill Snyder, 75 going on 110.

Frank Solich
Frank Solich is proof you can be in your 7th decade and still have what it takes to lead a mediocre MAC team.

Arnold-Schwarzenegger-and-Sylvester-Stallone-Chill-on-Hospital-Bed
Schwarzenegger and Stallone are 67 and 68 respectively.

Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson can’t believe the incredible deal he can get on term life insurance even as a 62-year-old.

Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury
Believe it or not, Samuel L. Jackson is 66-years-old. When you’ve signed on for 30 Marvel movies, your ass better not age a single day.

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From Quietly Dignified Fandom to Unabashedly Sniveling Gloater, the (de)Evolution of Husker Passion.

It’s strange the way simple pleasures can evolve when following a football program like Nebraska’s. As a child of the 1980s and 1990s, I used to luxuriate in the ample amounts of respect bestowed upon my beloved Huskers — whether it was from opposing coaches and fans or sports commentators during broadcasts — their vocalized respect always made my chest swell with pride.

But the Huskers don’t get much of that lately. Back in the day, 75% of Nebraska’s slate resigned itself to losing from the get-go. Some even considered “winning” the coin-toss a nice pre-slaughter gesture. Sadly, over this last strange decade, all that veneration has disappeared into the dustbin of history. Most teams no longer expect to lose to the Big Red. Hell, I’ll bet more than a few Cowboys down at McNeese State are thinking — make ‘em turn the ball over four or five times and we’ve got a shot!

But, with the new-found bravado Husker opponents have shown in the prospects of upcoming clashes with Nebraska, a new form of satisfaction has evolved for me in watching NU play. And that’s seeing the stunned silence from opposing fans when the Huskers pull off something amazing.

It’s the same chagrin Steve Spurrier displayed during the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. A thing of beauty precisely because Spurrier was part of that rare species back in the 1990s — the opposing coach who thought he had better than even odds against the Huskers. When Spurrier’s mirage was officially bisected by a galloping Tommie Frazier, the broadcasters treated viewers to a savory display of recompense the likes of which I’ll never forget.

Phases of spurrier

For the record, I don’t have anything personally against Steve Spurrier — the magnificent chief Cock that he is. But the sight of a smug, Coors-drinking bastard getting his hat handed to him was rare during the 1990s dynasty because the low expectations many of Nebraska’s opponents held never produced much hubris. So, ironically, one of the fruits of a lowered bar for Nebraska football is that now we get to see opposing fans (with the full assumption of a win in their pockets) shit bricks more often.

Assuming that many of you readers are like me — once quiet and dignified followers of a college football titan, now sniveling jealously in the shadows of our once-great reputation, I’ve gone ahead and assembled a gallery of some of my favorite screen shots from the past few years. This is the new simple joy our program bestows us: watching opposing fans react to something they just can’t believe.

Here a Texas fan finds her asshole tighten to a million pounds per square inch at the prospect of the Longhorns losing their BCS Championship bid at the hands of what essentially turned out to be the greatest performance of Ndamukong Suh’s collegiate career.

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Oh, were it not for that horse-collar tackle!

Here Taylor Martinez has just mesmerized a cluster of incredulous K-State backers, dashing past a slew of Wildcats and beating them to the end zone by 15 yards.

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Another amazing touchdown run by Martinez forces this Washington Husky fan to cover his eyes.

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And finally, this may look like a typical, mouth-breathing Georgia good ole boy, but — in fact — this man’s jaw is hanging a little more slack than usual thanks to Tommy Armstrong’s 99 yard touchdown pass to Quincy Enunwa.

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I hope these sufficiently whet some appetites for seeing a few more stunned opponents in 2014. Personally, I hope to add some Spartans, Badgers and Hawkeyes to the gallery next time this year. Go Big Red!

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