In stunning turn of events late last night Mike Riley has agreed in principal to become the next head coach of the St Louis Rams. It was rumored for the longest time that Steve Spagnuolo was on the out before formally being fired March 30, 2010. Riley was a surprising hire due to his last round of head coaching expereince with the San Diego Chargers. Riley earlier this year was rumored to be up for the USC vacancy created by the resignation of Pete Carroll, but rumors of him leaving were thought to be put to rest by signing a 3-year extension through the 2019 season
When asked to comment about the new job, Riley made the following statment:
I'm sad that I'm leaving a great program in Corvallis but Mr Rosenbloom made me an offer that was hard to refuse. I get to go back to the NFL and give it my best effort again. This is a wonderful opportunity for myself and my family.
Riley will be reuniting with former Oregon State standout RB Steven Jackson.
In 1999, Riley left the Beavers to become the head coach of the NFL's San Diego Chargers. Riley coached the Chargers from 1999 to 2001, with a record of 14–34. His last game was indicative of his last season, as the Chargers played well, but one poor play turned the tide. The 2001 Chargers ended their season with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, after Doug Flutie passed for 377 yards and drove for the tying field goal with 16 seconds remaining, but poor special teams play led to a long Seahawks kick return and subsequently a 54-yard winning field goal.
Riley was fired as head coach of the Chargers and became an assistant coach of the New Orleans Saints. He was offered the University of Alabama job in December 2002 after Dennis Franchione left for Texas A&M. Riley was also under consideration for the UCLA job during that period. After spending one season with the Saints, Riley returned to become the head coach at Oregon State in 2003 following Erickson's departure for the NFL.
Mark Banker, Defensive Coordinator will be taking over head coaching duties until a search committee can find a successor to Riley.