American Football Database
Bud Riley
Biographical details
Born(1925-11-25)25 November 1925
Guin, Alabama, USA
Died4 August 2012(2012-08-04) (aged 86)
Penticton, British Columbia, CAN
Alma materUniversity of Idaho
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Wallace HS (ID) - (ass't)
Wallace HS (ID)
Lewiston HS (ID)
Idaho - (ass't)
Oregon State - (ass't)
Saskatchewan (CFL) - (ass't)
Winnipeg (CFL)
Toronto (CFL) - (ass't)
Oregon State - (ass't)
Saskatchewan (CFL) - (ass't)
Hamilton (CFL) - (ass't)
Hamilton (CFL)
Edmonton (CFL) - (ass't)
Calgary - (CFL) - (interim)

Edward J. "Bud" Riley, Jr.[1][2] (25 November 1925 – 4 August 2012) was an American football coach who served as an assistant coach for the University of Idaho and Oregon State University. He also spent 14 seasons in the Canadian Football League, most notably as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1974 to 1977 and as a front office executive for the Calgary Stampeders from 1985 to 1987. He was the father of current Oregon State head coach Mike Riley.[3][4]

Early years

Riley was born and raised in Guin, Alabama,[4][5] a mining community in the western part of the state.[6] His father died when he was 12,[7] and he quit high school at age 17 during World War II to join the U.S. Navy. Following the war, he returned to western Alabama and later enrolled at nearby East Mississippi JC in Scooba.[1][4]


His junior college football prowess in his early 20s led him to the attention of University of Idaho head coach Dixie Howell, a hall of fame player in the 1930s from Alabama, who was tipped off by a friend. Riley (5'10", 155 lb.) informed Howell he was significantly larger than actually he was, which earned him an invitation to campus. Upon his arrival in Moscow in 1948, Howell wanted the undersized Riley run off; he had an assistant coach place Riley in a post-practice tackling drill with a much larger player, but Riley prevailed and stayed on the team.[8] He played halfback for the Vandals in the PCC from 1948 to 1950 under Howell.[9][10][11] In the home opener against Oregon in 1948, Riley scored the Vandals' only touchdown in a 15-8 loss in his first game at Neale Stadium. The Ducks featured Norm Van Brocklin and John McKay,[12] and would finish the regular season at 9-1 as Pacific Coast co-champions. Riley also played for the Vandals' baseball team.[13]

Early coaching years

High school

During his college summers and vacations, Riley had worked in the mines of the nearby Silver Valley at Wallace, and landed a job there with a mining company following graduation at age 26 in 1952.[1] The school superintendent was short-handed for instructors and asked him to fill in as a teacher, and he agreed to try it on an interim basis, with the mining company's permission. After growing up in a tough environment, Riley admired the hard-nosed grit of the mining community and found he liked teaching and coaching, and never returned to mining.[4][6] He started as an assistant coach in football and basketball and the head coach in baseball.[1][14][15][16] He was the head football coach at WHS for four seasons, starting in 1955, leading the Miners to a 23-14-1 record. He was also the head coach in basketball for two seasons, starting in the fall of 1957.[1][17] Riley met his wife Mary (from Mullan) while working in Wallace; they were married in November 1951 and their first two sons were born there.[4] They left Wallace in 1959 for Lewiston, where he was the head football coach at Lewiston High School for three years.[18] His overall record with the LHS Bengals was 15-14-1, with a final season of 1-8 due to disciplinary actions.[1]


In May 1962, he moved up to the collegiate ranks and joined the coaching staff at his alma mater, the University of Idaho, under first-year head coach Dee Andros.[1][19] The Vandals posted their first winning record in a quarter century in 1963,[20] and in 1964 they beat neighbor WSU for the first time in a decade[21] and barely lost the week before at Rose Bowl-bound Oregon State 10-7 on a second half punt return.[22] When Tommy Prothro left OSU for UCLA, Andros moved over to Oregon State and the Pac-8 in February 1965,[20] Riley followed him to Corvallis as the secondary coach,[17] later defensive coordinator, from 1965 to 1972.[23][24] The best years were 1967 ("Giant Killers") and 1968, when the Beavers were nationally ranked.

CFL coach

After eight seasons in Corvallis, Riley moved to the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1973, as defensive coordinator of the Saskatchewan Roughriders,[25][26] where he made significant improvements to a poorly rated defense.[27] Riley was hired as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1974; head coach Jim Spavital was fired after the Blue Bombers finished last in the Western Conference in 1973.[28][29] The Bombers didn't make it out of the first round in Riley's three postseason appearances, and he was let go after the 1977 CFL season.[30][31] His next coaching job was as an assistant with the Toronto Argonauts.[32] He replaced the fired Leo Cahill as head coach with seven games remaining,[33] finishing with a 1-6 record.

He returned to Oregon State in 1979 as an assistant to Craig Fertig,[34][35] but Fertig was fired by Andros midway through the season. Riley returned to the CFL in 1980, as the defensive backs coach for Saskatchewan.[6] In January 1981, he was hired by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the defensive coordinator under head coach Frank Kush,[36] and was promoted to head coach for the 1982 season.[37] He lasted only halfway into his second season before being replaced by director of player personnel Al Bruno.[38]

Riley spent the 1984 season as defensive co-ordinator for the Edmonton Eskimos.[39] He moved to the front office in 1985, serving as the Calgary Stampeders player personnel director for three seasons.[40][41] He also served as interim coach for the remainder of the 1985 season after the firing of head coach Steve Buratto,[42] (whom Riley had recruited to Idaho as a player).

He was inducted into the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.[43]


Bud and his wife Mary had three sons: Mike (b.1953), Ed (b.1958),[8] and Pete (b.1964). Mike spent his junior high and high school years in Corvallis and was midway through college at Alabama when Bud left OSU and became a nomadic coach in the CFL in 1973. The younger sons, specifically Pete, attended many different schools, primarily in Canada, in the 1970s and early 1980s (both went to four high schools, in a different city each year). Ed spent his senior year at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, and then went to Whitworth College.[8]

Bud's brother Hayden was the head basketball coach at Alabama (1960–68),[1] and later was the head baseball coach of the Tide in the 1970s.[44]

Riley died near his home in Penticton, British Columbia on August 4, 2012.[45]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Lewiston Morning Tribune - Bud Riley named Idaho assistant - 1962-05-27 - p.11
  2. - Margaret Riley Watkins (1933-2010) - sister of Bud Riley - accessed 30 March 2012
  3. Peterson, Anne M. (20 February 2003). "Riley to return as Oregon State coach". USA Today. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Oregonian - The lives of two Rileys define Oregon State football - 2 December 2009
  5. Spokane Daily Chronicle - Idaho gridders receive awards - 1949-11-24 - p.29
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 (Regina) Leader-Post - Bud Riley - 1980-08-15 - p.45
  7. - Riley family genalogy - accessed 30 March 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 - Sports, nomadic family influence successful ex-Bullpup - 2009-11-17 - accessed 12 February 2012
  9. "Grim Vandals Face Cougar Might". Lewiston Morning Tribune: p. 8. 30 October 1948.,5013096&dq=bud-riley+coach+idaho+vandals&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  10. Hayes, Peter (4 September 1949). "Idaho May Be Tougher Than Opponents Think". Tri City Herald.,282221&dq=bud-riley+idaho+vandals&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  11. "Howell Defying Tradition; To Assemble Small Squad". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 30 August 1950.,5540294&dq=bud-riley+idaho+vandals&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  12. Spokesman-Review - Action in pictures of Idaho's valiant losing battle against Oregon - 1948-10-10 - p.3-sports
  13. Lewiston Morning Tribune - Loggers battle Vandal squad in two games - 1949-04-08 - p.10
  14. "ND Praises Wallace". Spokesman-Review. 21 November 1957.,384554&dq=bud-riley+wallace+high+school+coach&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  15. "6 Hoop Veterans On Wallace Team". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 28 November 1958.,6700471&dq=bud-riley+wallace+high+school+coach&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  16. "Fair Is Report". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 4 September 1958.,1011694&dq=bud-riley+wallace+high+school+coach&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Lewiston Morning Tribune - Riley accepts post as aide at Oregon State - p.10
  18. "Bengals Travel To Wallace". Lewiston Morning Tribune. 30 October 1959.,4662429&dq=bud-riley+wallace+high+school+coach&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  19. "Idaho Gets Three More Prep Stars". Lewiston Morning Tribune: p. 8. 22 August 1962.,3522781&dq=bud-riley+dee+andros&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Spokane Daily Chronicle - Dee Andros named Oregon State grid coach - 1965-02-01 - p.15
  21. Spokesman-Review -'Thunder Ray' leads Idaho's charge - 1964-10-25 - p.1-sports
  22. Lewiston Morning Tribune - OSU tips Vandals on punt return tally - 1964-10-18 - p.11
  23. Peterson, Anne M. (25 September 2008). "The year of upsets for the Beavers". MailTribune. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011.
  24. Withers, Bud (7 September 1972). "Beavers face opener very much in the dark". Eugene Register-Guard: p. 4B.,1526840&dq=bud-riley+oregon&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  25. Hughes, Bob (6 January 1973). "Tough...aggressive". Leader-Post.,1068843&dq=bud-riley&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  26. "Brooks Leaves La, Returns To Beavers". Eugene Register-Guard. 21 January 1973.,4671552&dq=bud-riley&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  27. Hughes, Bob (22 November 1973). "Eskimo tandem could be key". Leader-Post: p. 22.,4530309&dq=bud-riley+winnipeg&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  28. Hughes, Bob (18 January 1974). "Eddy Joins Roughrider Staff...". Leader-Post: p. 26.,637679&dq=bud-riley+winnipeg&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  29. Watters, Dave (8 August 1974). "Duke of Winnipeg does get around". Vancouver Sun.,3046737&dq=bud-riley+winnipeg&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  30. "Decision of Blue Bombers: they no longer can stand to live the life of Riley". Calgary Herald. 17 November 1977.,3225444&dq=bud-riley+winnipeg&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  31. - Oregon State Insider: Mike Riley, and his dad Bud Riley, both know the sting of being fired - 13 October 2011
  32. Tucker, Larry (6 June 1978). "Jauch inherits star-studded Bomber team". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.,1534607&dq=bud-riley+signed+toronto&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  33. "Cahill Again Walks Argos' Gangplank". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. 11 September 1978.,2754453&dq=leo+cahill+fired+riley+seven+games&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  34. "Ducks, Beavers Hire Grid Coaches". The Bulletin. 6 January 1979.,3607317&dq=bud-riley+oregon&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  35. OSU Alumni Association - Up Close and Personal: Riley’s return a repeat of the past - accessed 12 March 2012
  36. (Regina (Leader-Post - Riley goes with his gut feeling - 1981-01-27 - p.17
  37. "Can Edmonton Win Another Grey Cup Title?". Tuscaloosa News. 6 July 1982.,1035533&dq=bud-riley+hired&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  38. "Ti-cats Fire Riley". Leader-Post. 7 October 1983.,1590028&dq=bud-riley+al-bruno&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  39. "Eskimos High On Fisher". Leader-Post: p. B2. 28 May 1984.,3014318&dq=bud-riley+edmonton&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  40. "Bud Should Feel At Home". Leader-Post. 1 February 1985.,66331&dq=bud-riley+director&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  41. "Miscellaneous". Saturday Post-Courier. 19 August 1987.,6237745&dq=bud-riley+director&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  42. "Vespaziani After Coaching Job". Leader-Post. 6 February 1986.,1125071&dq=bud-riley+director&hl=en. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  43. "Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame Member Details - Bud Riley". Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011.
  44. Tuscaloosa News - Riley overlooked by Alabama Sports Hall of Fame - 1996-02-21 - p.2C
  45. Statesmen Journal. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012.

External links

  • Gem of the Mountains - 1950 - University of Idaho yearbook - 1949 football season - Bud Riley - p. 216