NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Head Coach Mike Riley has made two additions to the University of Nebraska football staff, adding a former Husker and NFL standout to the coaching staff, and hiring a former NFL general manager in an administrative capacity in the Nebraska program.
Riley has hired John Parrella as Nebraska’s defensive line coach, completing the 2016 coaching staff. Parrella comes to Nebraska after two seasons as the defensive line coach at Northern Michigan University. A native of Grand Island, Neb., Parrella was an All-Big Eight defensive tackle at Nebraska and played 12 seasons in the NFL.
Nebraska has also hired Billy Devaney as Executive Director of Player Personnel and Special Assistant to the Head Coach. Devaney has more than three decades of experience in the National Football League in administrative and player personnel roles. He served as the general manager of the St. Louis Rams from 2008 to 2011, and was most recently a pro personnel scout for the Atlanta Falcons.
“I am confident we have added two individuals that will enhance our football program in many areas,” Riley said. “We are proud to bring John Parrella home to Nebraska as our defensive line coach. John will bring great energy and expertise to our defensive staff. He knows what it means to wear a Blackshirt and has the personality to connect with his players and prospective student-athletes.
“Billy Devaney is one of the most respected executives in the National Football League. His wide-ranging experience on the administrative side of a football organization will have many benefits on our program here at Nebraska.”
Parrella has made a fast rise in the coaching profession after his long playing career. Prior to his two seasons on the Northern Michigan staff, Parrella served as an assistant coach at Chabot Junior College in Hayward, Calif., in 2013. Chabot finished first in the Golden Gate Conference and won the Top of the State Bowl game for the Central Division Championship.
Parrella first made his mark as a coach at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif. Parrella started the varsity program at the school and guided the Vikings to four straight North Coast Section Division IV playoff appearances. In his first season, he led Valley Christian to the semifinals of the NCS playoffs.
“I am fired up to be a part of the Nebraska program and to have the opportunity to work with this coaching staff,” Parrella said. “I have nothing but the greatest respect for Coach Riley and the University of Nebraska.”
The success in coaching followed Parrella’s championship playing career at both the collegiate and professional levels. Parrella was a two-time All-Big Eight selection at Nebraska in 1991 and 1992, and was a team captain in his senior season. Parrella was a part of three Big Eight title teams during his Husker career, and was the 1992 Nebraska Lifter of the Year. Parrella was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
A second-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1993, Parrella played 12 seasons in the NFL. He played in three Super Bowls, one each with the Bills, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. During Parrella’s final three seasons with the Chargers from 1999 to 2001, Riley served as San Diego’s head coach and NU defensive coordinator Mark Banker was also on the Chargers’ staff. Parrella finished his career with 26.5 sacks and more than 400 total tackles.
In his role with the Huskers, Devaney will work with Riley to develop, implement and oversee a comprehensive football player personnel program. Devaney will head up the process of identifying prospective student-athletes, allocation of scholarship offers and assist the head coach with roster management. Devaney will directly oversee the Huskers’ player personnel and recruiting staffs.
“I spent a weekend in Lincoln last fall in my scouting role for the Falcons,” Devaney said. “The facilities and whole atmosphere was truly special, so the opportunity to work with Mike and his staff at a place like Nebraska was a no-brainer. I have been fortunate in the NFL to be a part of 19 playoff games, four championships and three Super Bowls, but this opportunity at Nebraska excites me as much as anything I have been a part of in my football career.”
Devaney has worked in the Falcons organization in 2014 and 2015. He served as the general manager of the St. Louis Rams from 2008 to 2011, and was also the Rams’ executive vice president of player personnel in 2008.
Devaney got his start in professional football as a scout with the Washington Redskins organization from 1979 to 1990. He got his start in the front office as the director of pro personnel for the San Diego Chargers from 1990 to 2000.
During his stint with the Chargers, the team appeared in Super Bowl XXIX following the 1994 season. Devaney was also in the Chargers’ front office when the organization hired Riley as head coach before the 1999 season.
Devaney spent time inthe San Francisco 49ers (2001-03) and Atlanta Falcons (2006-07) front offices before taking over in St. Louis in 2008. He also worked as an NFL analyst for ESPN during the 2013 season and for CBS Sports in 2004 and 2005.