Mike Riley, 11.25.17

Former Nebraska head football coach Mike Riley smiles as he leaves a press conference Saturday at Memorial Stadium after he was fired by athletic director Bill Moos.

Francis Gardler, Lincoln Journal Star

LINCOLN — Mike Riley walked to the podium, sporting a bright red "N" on his shirt and cap.

Hours after he was fired Saturday morning as the head football coach at Nebraska, Riley addressed the media — and perhaps more importantly, his adopted state.

"A lot of feelings and emotions, for sure. A lot of disappointment, I suppose. But at the same time I'm going to remain and believe in being thankful," Riley said in a rare news conference appearance by a coach after being fired.

"This is an awesome place," Riley said. "I really am thankful for the people I work with and the many people I've met in this state."

Riley addressed the media five hours after he was fired by athletic director Bill Moos in a Saturday morning meeting.

He began his remarks jokingly, saying he wouldn't be able to address Friday's Iowa game.

"I came in to watch the film this morning and got interrupted," he said.

Riley said he was treated fairly by Moos and described his meeting Saturday with the Nebraska football team as "very emotional," adding that his relationship with players is as important as the X's and O's.

"As I've gotten older in this thing, the thing I've appreciated more is the relationship with players and the realization that at some point in your career, this thing is bigger than football," he said.

Riley said he looks forward to being a "granddaddy," but believes he can still coach. And he has recruiting advice for whoever might replace him at NU.

"What we discovered is you need a really specific recruiting plan. What we've learned, being now in the Big Ten, is a different footprint to recruit in," Riley said. "We were finding our way."

It all brings to mind the most well-known inscription carved into Memorial Stadium's walls.

In the deed, the glory.

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