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John Parrella returning to Nebraska to coach defensive line


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Former Nebraska standout John Parrella will return to Lincoln as an assistant coach and former NFL general manager Billy Devaney will join Mike Riley's staff in an administrative position.

Riley announced Wednesday that Parrella would replace defensive line coach Hank Hughes, who was fired Feb. 5. Devaney, the St. Louis Rams general manager from 2008-11, was hired for the new positions of executive director of player personnel and special assistant to the head coach.

''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.''

Parrella, 46, has been defensive line coach at Division II Northern Michigan the past two seasons. He previously was an assistant at Chabot College in California. He's on a two-year contract at Nebraska and will be paid $250,000 annually.

Parrella grew up 80 miles west of Lincoln, in Grand Island, and played for Tom Osborne from 1988-92. He walked on after Colorado pulled a scholarship offer and as a senior was an All-Big Eight defensive tackle. He played 12 years for three NFL teams, including the San Diego Chargers when Riley was that team's head coach from 1999-2001.

''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.''

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Devaney, 60, has worked in NFL administrative and player personnel roles since 1979. He is no relation to Bob Devaney, the College Football Hall of Fame coach at Nebraska from 1962-72.

Billy Devaney most recently was a pro personnel scout for the Atlanta Falcons. His salary at Nebraska wasn't immediately available.

''Billy Devaney is one of the most respected executives in the National Football League,'' Riley said. ''His wide-ranging experience on the administrative side of a football organization will have many benefits on our program here at Nebraska.''

Devaney will help Riley identity prospective recruits, allocate scholarship offers and assist with roster management. Devaney will directly oversee the Huskers' player personnel and recruiting staffs.

Devaney was director of pro personnel for the Chargers from 1990-2000. He was in the front office when the team hired Riley as head coach in 1999. Devaney said he spent a weekend in Lincoln last fall in his role with the Falcons and was impressed with the program.

''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,'' Devaney said. ''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.''