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Riley back with Beavers as assistant

CORVALLIS — Mike Riley is returning to Oregon State.

The former Beavers coach was named an assistant on new coach Jonathan Smith's staff on Thursday.

Most recently head coach at Nebraska, Riley was coach at Oregon State twice, from 1997-98 and 2003-14. He will serve as an assistant head coach with a "to-be-determined" position assignment under Smith.

Smith, a former Beavers' quarterback, was a graduate assistant at Oregon State under Riley in 2003.

Also joining Smith's staff are assistants Jim Michalczik, Brian Lindgren, Jake Cookus and Mike McDonald.

Michalczik, who has been an assistant at Arizona for the past five years, was named associate head coach, serving as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. Lindgren, an assistant at Colorado, will serve as the Beavers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Cookus was promoted from within the program to special teams coordinator and McDonald, who comes to the Beavers from Washington, will be strength and conditioning coach.

Dan Van De Riet, who was Nebraska's director of football operations, is also returning to Oregon State as the chief of staff and director of football operations.

Nebraska dismissed Riley last month after three seasons. The Cornhuskers finished this season 4-8 for the program's fewest wins since going 3-6-1 in 1961. Riley was 19-19 overall with the Huskers and lost 12 of the last 18. Nebraska had losing records two of Riley's three seasons.

During his time with the Beavers, Riley developed a reputation for developing quarterbacks and pulling the occasional big upset. With a stint in the NFL as coach of the San Diego Chargers, he also showed a knack for recruiting players that were successful at the pro level.

"Current and former players thriving in the NFL and in life are proof of coach Riley's tremendous ability to recruit outstanding young men," Smith said in a statement released by Oregon State. "He understands what it takes to win in this conference, and how to evaluate and develop student-athletes. There is no one better to have represent OSU in the homes of recruits as we build this program."

Over 14 total seasons at Oregon State, Riley had a 93-80 record and wins in six of eight bowl games. His Beavers famously knocked off No. 3 Southern California at home in 2006, No. 2 California on the road in 2007, No. 1 USC at home in 2008 and No. 9 Arizona on the road in 2010.

Riley grew up in Corvallis, and his father Bud was an assistant at Oregon State.

Smith came to the Beavers from Washington, where he was quarterbacks coach under coach Chris Petersen. A walk-on at Oregon State, he helped lead the Beavers to a Fiesta Bowl victory following the 2000 season.

Smith filled the vacancy left by Gary Andersen, who surprisingly parted ways with the Beavers in early October after a 1-5 start. Cornerbacks coach Cory Hall served as interim head coach for the rest of the season, and the Beavers finished 1-11.

Then-Oregon State head coach Mike Riley smiles at an official during a game against Utah in 2014. [AP FILE PHOTO]