Mike Riley, the man, is beloved in Corvallis. Count me among his admirers. He's knowledgeable, caring, loyal, trustworthy, honorable. His staff and players say that he treats them like "family," and in return they accord him not just respect, which every leader requires, but affection, which few men in leadership positions hope for and fewer receive.
Can you forgive me for looking past Riley the man to Riley the coach? Am I permitted to do that on Building the Dam? Are you prepared to discuss his record dispassionately, now that his tenth season as Oregon State University's football coach has concluded? Does it not seem an appropriate juncture for us to assess his accomplishments?
Let me begin with a few facts. You can correct or expand on them as you wish. And perhaps we can then come to a conclusion, or more likely several points of view, as to whether coach Riley has earned a rating of 5 Tails (Beaverrific), 4 Tails (Above Beaverage), 3 Tails (Beaverage), 2 Tails (Below Beaverage), or just 1 Tail (Beavbysmal). ENTER YOUR RATING IN THE ATTACHED POLL.
Parenthetically, I will point out that coach Riley's record in three seasons of National Football League competition, 14-34 (.291) with the San Diego Chargers, was, shall we say, undistinguished. That is none of our concern. We are interested in his achievements during a decade at OSU:
In the Pac-10, coach Riley is 43-42 (one game over .500)
Conference championships = 0
Civil War record = 4-6 (.400)
His overall record is 69-54 (.561)
BCS bowls = 0
Second- and third-tier bowls = 5-1
2003 Las Vegas Bowl (beat non-ranked, 8-4 New Mexico)
2004 Insight Bowl (beat non-ranked, 6-5 Notre Dame, whose coach had been fired at the end of the regular season)
2006 Sun Bowl (beat non-ranked, 8-4 Missouri)
2007 Emerald Bowl (beat non-ranked, 6-6 Maryland)
2008 Sun Bowl (beat #20, 9-3 Pittsburgh)
2009 Las Vegas Bowl (lost to #14, 10-2 BYU)
Have I left out any pertinent facts for an assessment of his performance? I'll reserve my rating until I have the benefit of your input, but I can tell you this. I do not think he warrants a 5-Tail, Beaverrific rating.