By Tim Gardner
Garrett Riley has been hired as an assistant football coach at Appalachian State University, head coach Eliah Drinkwitz announced Friday. Riley will coach the Mountaineers’ 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.”
Drinkwitz, who became Appalachian State’s head coach on December 13, 2018, has completed all his assistant coach hires for his first Mountaineer staff.
He also hired Anwar Stewart to coach the defensive line on Friday.
Three assistants Drinkwitz previously hired resigned after joining the staff—all in a span of only twenty days.
First, Junior Adams was hired away by the University of Washington on January 17th as an assistant, coaching wide receivers. Then, Ken Dorsey, the first outside staff hire made by Drinkwitz, took a position on February 2nd with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills. And lastly, defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt stepped down on National Signing Day (February 6th) for high school recruits, to become an assistant at Kansas State.
As a player (Texas Tech) and coach (East Carolina, Kansas) at the Football Bowl Subdivision (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 Drinkwitz 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 Appalachian State 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 Jayhawks tight ends and fullbacks last season (2018).
Riley spent the 2015 season as the outside receivers coach at East Carolina. He 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 currently serves as head coach at the University of Oklahoma. As an offensive assistant, Garrett primarily worked with quarterbacks, coordinated the defensive scout team and conducted video analysis.
Riley earned his first collegiate position in 2012 as running backs coach at Augustana, Illinois College. He spent the 2011 season as a quarterbacks and passing game assistant at Lubbock, TX’s Roosevelt High School.
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 Football Championship Subdivision (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 Muleshoe, TX native, Riley is married to the former Lindsay Murff. They have two sons, Gibson and Greyson.