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College Football: Roseburg graduate Jake Cookus rehired on OSU coaching staff

December 7, 2017 GMT

Jake Cookus is staying with the Beavers.

The 1997 Roseburg High School graduate and former Oregon State University safety was named to Jonathan Smith’s coaching staff Thursday as special teams coordinator.

Smith, who was recently selected the Beavers’ head coach after serving as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Chris Petersen at Washington, announced Cookus as one of six hires to his staff.

The others are Jim Michalczik, associate head coach and offensive line; Mike Riley, assistant head coach; Brian Lindgren, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach; and Mike McDonald, strength and conditioning. Dan Van De Riet also returns to Corvallis in an administrative role as chief of staff and director of football operations.

Riley was OSU’s head coach twice, from 1997-98 and 2003-14, and is the school’s all-time winningest coach with 93 victories. The Beavers appeared in eight bowl games during his two stints, winning six of them.

Riley, a 1971 graduate of Corvallis High, guided Nebraska for three years before being fired following the 2017 regular season.

The appointments are contingent on the completion of all university hiring processes.

Cookus served as special teams quality control coach with OSU the last two years. Gary Andersen, who became the Beavers’ head coach in 2015, departed midway through the 2017 season and Cory Hall was interim head coach the last six games.

The Beavers finished 1-11 overall and went winless in Pac-12 play for the second time in three years.

Cookus has been an assistant coach at Hawaii, Montana, Weber State, Kentucky and Southern Oregon. He was a defensive coordinator and special teams coach at Weber State for seven seasons.

“Coach Cookus brings a similar background to the program that I have; he knows what it takes to be successful here as a student-athlete and coach, which makes him invaluable in selling Oregon State University,” Smith said. “His commitment to detail, which is an especially valuable trait for a special teams coach, and knowledge of the high school programs in the region make him a tremendous asset in recruiting.”

Cookus was a safety for Oregon State under Riley and Dennis Erickson from 1998-01 and was a teammate of Smith, who quarterbacked the Beavers to a Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame in 2001. Cookus received honorable mention all-Pac-12 as a senior.

Cookus helped Roseburg High win back-to-back big-school state championships in 1995-96. The Indians went 28-0 during those two seasons under Thurman Bell. Cookus was an all-state quarterback and defensive back as a senior.