Noah Riley ’20 is a football guy to the core. Not only is he a quarterback for Lewis & Clark, but he has turned his knowledge of football into a successful business. This summer, Riley published a book titled “Breaking Down the 2018 Oklahoma Offense” that has sold over 1,000 copies and made him over $10,000. He sells around six to seven copies each day.
“People often ask me if entrepreneurs are born or made,” Brian Detweiler-Bedell, professor of psychology and director of the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership, said. “The answer is both. Some of the students we work with through the Bates Center just can’t help it — they are entrepreneurs through and through. Noah (Riley) is one of these.”
Riley was in Detweiler-Bedell’s leadership course (EINV 261) last spring while he was writing the book and decided to run his idea past Detweiler-Bedell, who supported the idea.
“I am always skeptical of book projects,” Detweiler-Bedell said. “But not with Noah. He built from his deep understanding of football offenses. That’s what we call ‘starting with your own means.’ This was the type of book he was meant to write.”
Riley submitted his manuscript to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and sold 500 copies in the first week. His success was mostly due to the substantial Twitter following he had accrued over the past year and a half by publishing articles analyzing different teams’ offensive and defensive strategies.
Riley constantly watches film of football games and analyzes the plays. He collects data from the films and analyzes them to determine the success rates of various strategies.
“I was talking to my friend Taylor Kolste who plays football for Whitworth,” Riley said. “And we were like ‘Hey, we know all this stuff, but is it actually going to help us get a job? We need to get our name out there.’ So we decided to write an article and see if it catches on.”
Riley and Kolste created a website called “Riley-Kolste Football” where they post highly technical articles about offensive and defensive strategy. Here is an excerpt from one of Riley’s articles:
“The majority of defenses that are run on two point plays are either man, or banjo/bracket combos of man coverage,” Riley wrote in his article titled Two-Point Study. “In the passing game, it seems that plays designed to beat bracket/ banjo coverage do best, and the plays that did poorly tended to be ones that can be matched by bracket/ banjo coverages.”
Not many people speak this language, and the ones who do — the people who are most interested in Riley’s articles — are high school and college football coaches. The articles were a hit and Riley is now able to freelance his writing. He wants to pursue a coaching career after college.
“Both my uncles, my grandpa and my brother are coaches and I see the influence they have on people’s lives … I want to do that,” Riley said.
Riley has had many opportunities to learn about what makes a good coach and a successful team. He applies principles that he has learned from his psychology major to coaching strategies, and he says that LC’s football coach, Jay Locey, embodies these principles.
“I came to LC because of Coach Locey,” Riley said. “I wanted to go somewhere with a coach I could learn from and who would be a good role model for what I want to be when I coach, and I think Coach Locey is that mainly because of where he has his priorities. I think he and the rest of our coaches do a great job with teaching stuff through football that go beyond the game of football that we can take into the rest of our lives — how to respond to adversity, how to be a good teammate, all the stuff that goes into creating a great culture.”
You can find Riley’s book on Amazon.