Nebraska fires Mike Riley after three seasons in Lincoln

Nick Bromberg

We can officially add Nebraska to the growing list of schools looking for a new football coach.

The Huskers fired Mike Riley on Saturday, a day after Nebraska was obliterated 56-14 by Iowa at home in the team’s regular-season finale. The game was tied 14-14 at halftime before Iowa scored 42 straight points in the second half to cruise to its seventh win of the season.

The loss dropped Nebraska to 4-8, the school’s worst record since a 3-6 mark in 1961.

Riley was hired from Oregon State before the 2015 season after the school fired Bo Pelini. He finished 6-7 in his first season with the school and was 9-4 a year ago. But the team took a nosedive in 2017 and the Huskers have now gone five straight seasons without a Big Ten West title. He finished his tenure with the school at 19-19.

The change in leadership with the football program comes months after Nebraska made a change at the top of the athletic department. After the Huskers lost to Northern Illinois at home in September the school fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst, the man who brought Riley to Lincoln.

Former Washington State AD Bill Moos is now in charge at Nebraska and he’ll be tasked with finding Riley’s successor. After decades of success with Tom Osborne, many Nebraska fans still believe the Huskers should be one of the premier programs in the country. But that’s easier said than done given the shifting power dynamics in college football.

Nebraska won 10 or more games in nine of 11 seasons from 1993-2003. But since then, the school has just three 10-win seasons. That 1990s standard of excellence is a big reason why the school fired Pelini after seven seasons. He’s the man responsible for those three 10-win seasons after 2003 and never won fewer than nine games. But the Huskers also never won a conference title under his watch.

Central Florida coach Scott Frost is a logical candidate to be the team’s next head coach, but he could move to Florida– arguably a bigger program – from Orlando instead of moving his family halfway across the country. Frost played quarterback at Nebraska and was part of two undefeated teams in his three seasons with the school.

If Frost isn’t Nebraska’s next head coach, then it’s anyone’s guess who Moos could target.

UCF's Scott Frost, a Nebraska legend, is expected to be a top target for the Huskers' head coach opening. (AP)
UCF’s Scott Frost, a Nebraska legend, is expected to be a top target for the Huskers’ head coach opening. (AP)

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!