BOONE, N.C. — A fast riser in the football coaching profession, Garrett Riley has been tabbed as Appalachian State’s newest assistant coach, head coach Eliah Drinkwitz announced Friday. Riley will mentor the Mountaineer running backs.
“We’re excited to welcome Garrett and his family to the App State family,” Drinkwitz said. “We’re looking to be cutting edge on offense, and we expect him to continue to push that. His experience coaching in North Carolina will also benefit our program.”
As a player (Texas Tech) and coach (East Carolina, Kansas) at the FBS level, Riley has been a part of four bowl games – Cotton (2008/Texas Tech), Alamo (2009/Texas Tech), Beef `O’ Brady’s (2013/East Carolina) and Birmingham (2014/East Carolina).
“I’m excited to be part such a traditionally successful program,” Riley said. “I’m humble and grateful to have the opportunity to be around this organization and work with Coach Drink and the rest of the staff that I’ve known about for several years. Look forward to continuing the great success that Appalachian State’s had, and I can’t wait to start working with the players.”
Riley comes to Boone after three years on the staff at Kansas. After being hired as an offensive analyst in 2016, he coached quarterbacks in 2017 and mentored the KU tight ends and fullbacks last season.
In 2017, Riley oversaw quarterback Peyton Bender become the Jayhawks’ fastest player to pass for 1,000 yards in his career – doing so in his first three games. After Carter Stanley was named starter prior to the Kansas State game, he made his starting debut count by throwing for 418 yards, the fifth-most passing yards in Kansas single-game history.
Riley spent the 2015 season as the outside receivers coach at East Carolina. During his time coaching the ECU outside receivers, he mentored Zay Jones, who caught 98 passes for 1,009 yards that year and went on to set the NCAA FBS record with 399 career catches. Jones was picked 37th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Riley worked as an offensive assistant on the ECU staff in 2014 and 2015 for then-head coach Ruffin McNeill and then-coordinator Lincoln Riley, Garrett’s older brother who now serves as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. As an offensive assistant, Garrett primarily worked with quarterbacks, coordinated the defensive scout team and conducted video analysis. During his time working with the ECU quarterbacks, he assisted Shane Carden, who became the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (11,991) and passing touchdowns (86). Carden was named the 2014 American Athletic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Riley earned his first collegiate position in 2012 as running backs coach at Augustana (Ill.) College, helping rebuild a Vikings program that was 2-8 a year earlier into a 5-5 squad that improved its rushing total by 500 yards. He spent the 2011 season as a quarterbacks and passing game assistant at Lubbock’s (Texas) Roosevelt High School, helping the squad set four school quarterback and five school receiving records.
Riley earned a bachelor’s degree in general business from Texas Tech in 2012 and was a quarterback on the Red Raiders’ roster during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. While in Lubbock, Riley was directly mentored by Mike Leach, who was both head coach and quarterbacks coach, and the Red Raiders registered 20 wins and pair of bowl appearances. Riley transferred to Stephen F. Austin in 2010 and helped the Lumberjacks to a Southland Conference title and a No. 1 FCS ranking in both passing and total offense.
As a prep athlete at Muleshoe (Texas) High School, Riley was the 2007 Associated Press All-State 2A Offensive Player of the Year after playing a role in four straight playoff appearances.
A native of Muleshoe, Texas, Riley is married to the former Lindsay Murff. The couple two sons, Gibson and Greyson.
Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley on Garrett Riley…
“I’m thrilled for Garrett to have this opportunity at Appalachian State, and I know he is very excited to work under Coach Drinkwitz. What App State has accomplished since becoming an FBS program five years ago is simply remarkable, and Garrett will bring a ton of energy with him to Boone as the Mountaineers look to continue their string of Sun Belt Conference championships and bowl wins.”
Oklahoma Assistant Head Coach Ruffin McNeill on Garrett Riley…
“G will be a great addition to the Mountaineer family. I’ve known him and Lindsay for a long time. I watched him when he was still a high school player and then as a coach. When I got to East Carolina, he was one of my first hires as a graduate assistant, and then when a full-time position came open it was an immediate appointment. He’s been around the top offensive minds in football, and he is one of the top offensive minds. He and his family will be a great addition to the Mountaineer family.”