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How SMU found Garrett Riley, and why he was hired as the Mus

Postby AfricanMustang » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:25 am

It was back in the summer that head coach Sonny Dykes added then-Appalachian State running backs coach Garrett Riley to his ever evolving short list. A list of names he keeps of coaches he may keep in mind should he ever need to fill an opening.

“I sat down and interviewed him, and once I did that, I felt really comfortable with him, felt like it made a lot of sense," Dykes said. "He knew some of the guys on our staff. When we started talking about our current players, he knew who they were. He had seen them on film.

"He’s just one of those guys that’s really sharp. He’s got an outstanding memory. He can put things into context. He’s just a very thorough hard worker.”

Garrett Riley, the brother of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, had just been named the offensive coordinator at Appalachian State. He shares a lot of the same offensive principles in the Air Raid offense, having played two years as a quarterback at Texas Tech for Mike Leach, a man who helped shape Dykes’ offensive philosophy.

It is worth noting that SMU has yet to officially hire Riley, according to a team spokeswoman. Though the football program posted a tweet about Riley’s hire Wednesday, there has been no press release as of Thursday, nor any mention of Riley’s hire on the official website. The team spokeswoman said he wouldn’t be available for comment until his hire is made official.

Dykes said he conducted interviews at the The American Football Coaches Association convention in Nashville, which took place from Jan. 12-14. He said he interviewed several candidates and talked with others on the phone, and came away believing Riley was the right person for the job.

Other internal candidates already at SMU were also considered, Dykes said.

“There were some candidates that had some great resumes and had a ton of experience but they just, I don’t think the alignment was there in terms of belief," Dykes said, also noting that Riley has a Texas background and Texas recruiting connections. “[Riley’s] got that kind of [offensive] background. His background is kind of in the Air Raid, and he’s a believer in the fundamentals and the process that you go through to be good at throwing the ball. ... We don’t want to change much, we’re not going to change much.”

Riley is another young coach in a line of young coaches SMU has on its coaching roster. Of SMU’s 10 assistant coaches, nine of them are 39 years old or younger. Dykes, 50, said age isn’t really a factor for him in deciding who’s the best person for the job. He also believes the coaching profession is getting younger.

It also makes sense that Riley will continue the courtship of already-committed top QB Preston Stone, who plans to sign in December. SMU likes to have position coaches recruit those players who will eventually be under their wing.

As he started to settle on Riley, Dykes reached out to several people about his potential new hire, including Lincoln Riley -- who obviously gave his endorsement of the choice. Dykes, who notably is the son of a legendary head coach in Spike Dykes, made the point of saying Garrett is his own person and his own coach.

Now, Garrett will be just a couple of hours south of his older brother. And SMU will have a young, up-and-coming coach who, despite the name pedigree, still has a lot to prove.

This was a hire made pretty much solely by Dykes. Athletic director Rick Hart was only set to speak with Riley on Thursday for the first time. There’s a certain level of autonomy that Dykes has earned with making his own hires.

“It’s a real cohesive group,” Hart told The Dallas Morning News after the hire. "It’s not a staff, that I’ve encountered in the two years that -- sometimes, during the course of the season, a lot of things happen. And sometimes that creates silos or factions during different points of the season for different reasons. I haven’t seen any of that.

“I really think it’s a tight-knit group. And I think that carries over to the players. ... I know that was a priority for Sonny. To add somebody that could not only add value from a coaching perspective, but also is going to fit the culture.”

https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/smu-m ... ordinator/
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Re: How SMU found Garrett Riley, and why he was hired as the

Postby BUS » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:50 pm

Thanks for the read.
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