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MailTribune.com
  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL

    Riley has no plans to leave OSU

    He responds to report that he will interview for Wisconsin job
  • CORVALLIS — Oregon State football coach Mike Riley said Friday afternoon that he was "a little bit" amused by all this Wisconsin speculation.
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  • CORVALLIS — Oregon State football coach Mike Riley said Friday afternoon that he was "a little bit" amused by all this Wisconsin speculation.
    In case you didn't hear, a CBSSports.com report surfaced Thursday night that claimed Riley was set to interview for the Badgers' head coaching job. The news caught everyone by surprise, including Riley.
    Thursday night multiple OSU sources said the report was false, and Beavers athletic director Bob De Carolis said he had no knowledge of Riley talking to Wisconsin.
    Turns out, he wasn't.
    "I don't know how it got (started)," Riley said Friday afternoon after OSU had wrapped up bowl practice. "There has been no scheduled interview, and I haven't talked to anybody from Wisconsin. That's the truth. It's pretty amazing to me that you're all asking about this.
    "My long-term intention has always been to stay here at Oregon State. I've said that a million and a half times. I think it's good that there might be some interest — it happens when a staff is having some success."
    Riley, 59, is the all-time winningest coach in Oregon State football history, with 81 wins. In 12 years at Oregon State he has compiled an 81-66 record, and this year he led the Beavers to their best turnaround in school history. Oregon State went 3-9 last season but reversed that in 2012, finishing 9-3. The No. 15 Beavers are scheduled to meet Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.
    "I'm not looking for an offer," Riley said. "I'm going to try to make this the best place I can. We've made some strides this year and we'll see what we can do in terms of winning this bowl game."
    Riley said he did not discuss the rumors with his players, pointing out that, "There's other stuff, like Texas, to talk about."
    There was speculation Thursday night that Riley might be talking with Wisconsin in an effort to leverage more money for himself and/or his assistants, but Riley said that's not his style.
    "I wouldn't do that, personally," he said. "That always feels mercenary. It doesn't feel good. I have talked to our people about doing some stuff for our assistant coaches, and I'm hoping that all happens."
    Riley declined to give specifics about what he has requested for his assistants. He also said he has not heard anything about Wisconsin possibly being interested in defensive coordinator Mark Banker.
    Banker, 56, has spent 14 of the last 15 seasons coaching with Riley. Banker left practice Friday before the media could speak with him. Riley is under contract until 2019, and his contract rolls over one year each time Oregon State goes to the postseason. He has said multiple times that he hopes to retire in Corvallis.
    "I've got a new motto — if you're happy, stay happy," he said. "It's a little naïve to say we're going to be here the rest of our lives. I know you have to win. This is major league stuff. But like I've said before, we're going to scratch and claw and try to keep winning and make this place better.
    "I'm proud of what's gone on here. It's hard to think about starting something like this again."
    Wisconsin is looking to replace former coach Bret Bielema, who left recently to coach at Arkansas. Riley is close friends with Paul Chryst, the Badgers' former offensive coordinator who is now the head coach at Pittsburgh.
    Oregon State beat Wisconsin in the Beavers' first game this season, a 10-7 upset of the Badgers, who were ranked No. 13 at the time.
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    OREGON STATE HAS sold close to 6,000 tickets of its 9,500 allotment for the Alamo Bowl, a pleasant surprise to Oregon State officials. Airfare to and from San Antonio is high during the holiday season, so no one was sure how well the fan base would travel.
    "We're very pleased with the response of Beaver Nation," said OSU spokesman Steve Fenk. "The travel company that works with us sold out their two charter flights quickly. All in all, it's a pretty good representation considering the airfare obstacle."
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