University of Nebraska Head Football Coach Mike Riley announced on Thursday the hiring of four assistant football coaches that will help lead the Husker football program into the future. All four assistant coaches worked for Riley at Oregon State, and all have proven track records as great coaches, teachers, mentors and outstanding recruiters.
The full-time coaches announced on Thursday include defensive assistants Mark Banker and Trent Bray, offensive assistant Mike Cavanaugh, and one of the nation’s most respected special teams experts in Bruce Read. No coordinator designations, other than special teams, have been made to this point.
The staff members Coach Riley added on Thursday have a combined 97 years of coaching experience and a combined 45 years working with Riley, including time at Oregon State and the San Diego Chargers.
“I am excited to have the first pieces in place regarding our staffing,” Riley said. “I’m very excited about the coaches that are on board right now. I’ve worked with them and trust them and know the kind of work they do. They are excited to represent the University of Nebraska and our football program, and we are fortunate to have them on staff.”
Mark Banker has worked with Riley for 18 seasons, including 14 seasons together at Oregon State, where Banker served as defensive coordinator. Banker worked strictly as defensive coordinator since 2012, but also spent time coaching the Beaver linebackers and safeties during his time on Riley’s staff.
Under Banker’s direction, the Beaver defense was regularly among the top units in the Pac-12 Conference. More than 70 of Banker’s defenders have earned all-conference honors during his tenure in Corvallis.
The Oregon State defense has ranked near the top of the Pac-12 in total defense several times under Banker, most recently ranking third in 2012. Banker’s 2007 Beaver defense led the nation in rushing defense and ranked eighth nationally in total defense.
Trent Bray has spent the past three seasons tutoring linebackers at Oregon State. In his first season on the Beaver staff in 2012, Oregon State ranked second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense and third in total defense, rushing defense and pass defense. Bray also coached linebackers at Arizona State from 2009 to 2011.
Bray was a standout linebacker for the Beavers from 2002 to 2005. In his career he totaled 337 tackles to rank among the top 10 tacklers in Oregon State history. He earned Pac-10 all-conference honors as both a junior and senior.
Mike Cavanaugh has spent the past 10 seasons on Riley’s staff, coaching the Beaver offensive line. Cavanaugh also spent time in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, and has several collegiate coaching stops, including six years as the offensive line coach at Hawaii.
The play of Cavanaugh’s offensive lines has helped the Beavers to record-setting offensive numbers. Quarterback Sean Mannion set single-season and career Pac-12 records for passing yards, while also paving the way for several all-conference runners. Beaver running backs Yvenson Bernard and Jacquizz Rodgers each produced three 1,000-yard rushing seasons behind Cavanaugh-coached lines. Cavanaugh’s offensive lines were also regularly among the league’s best at protecting the passer, and 23 of his players earned all-conference honors in the past decade.
Bruce Read has focused on special teams throughout his 29 years in coaching. Most recently, Read has been on Riley’s Oregon State staff since 2009, Read’s third stint at Oregon State. He also coached the Beaver special teams in 1997 and 1998, and from 2004 to 2006. The OSU special teams have achieved numerous school records under Read’s direction, including James Rodgers becoming the school’s career all-purpose yardage leader in 2011, partially fueled by 2,385 career return yards.
Read was also on Riley’s San Diego Chargers staff and was an NFL special teams assistant with the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
Quoting Nebraska’s New Assistant Coaches
“I’m very excited to join the University of Nebraska family, and be a part of a football program with such an extensive tradition of excellence on the football field and in the classroom. Specifically as a defensive coach, it is an honor to be a part of the Blackshirts and I look forward to helping continue that tradition.”
“It is an honor to be here at Nebraska in a program with such great history and legacy. I am very excited to get started. I have great faith in and loyalty to Coach Riley and the opportunity to continue to work with him at a place like Nebraska is an unbelievable opportunity.”
“I am more than excited to be with Coach Riley at the University of Nebraska. The tradition of excellence here is amazing. I am really honored to be able to work with the offensive line at a program with such a history of success in that area.”
“This is a great opportunity to be a part of a program with such outstanding tradition and success like the University of Nebraska. I am really excited to be here and it is an honor to be able to continue to work with Coach Riley. I have been with him a lot of years and he provides a great environment for coaches and student-athletes. It is fun to go to work for him every day of the year.”