The corollary to Bob Stoops’ shocking retirement at Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon is that the Sooners need a new head coach.
It didn’t take long and the school didn’t have to go but down the hallway to find their replacement however as the program confirmed that the team’s offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley would be taking over the reigns as head coach in Norman.
“I’m sincerely honored to be given this opportunity to be the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma. I want to thank Coach Stoops for bringing me here two years ago and making me part of the Sooner family. He is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, at any level. I’m absolutely thankful for our friendship and for the mentorship he has provided,” Riley said in a statement. “Coaching at Oklahoma is a dream come true for me and my family. I am extremely grateful to President Boren, Joe Castiglione, Chairman Bennett and the OU Board of Regents for believing in me and affording me this opportunity. I look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that Coach Stoops and so many others before him have instilled in this great program.”
Riley, just 33, instantly becomes the youngest head coach in all of FBS, besting Memphis’ Mike Norvell by nearly two years. He has been credited for a big part in the Sooners’ recent resurgence on the national and Big 12 scene and won the 2015 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach in his first year on the job at OU.
“I am thrilled that Lincoln Riley is in position to take over as the head coach. He is widely regarded as one of the brightest minds in college football and there is no question in my mind that he is the complete package. Our program is in very good hands,” added athletic director Castiglione. “Lincoln and I have a great relationship and I can’t wait to embark on this new era with him. I am sure our fans share my enthusiasm. We celebrate a tremendous legacy today and because of what Bob did here and the coach we have identified, we look forward to our future with great optimism.”
While Riley is plenty young, he has had success just about everywhere he’s been. The ‘Air Raid’ offense disciple was at East Carolina from 2010-2014 and prior to that spent seven seasons at his alma mater-turned-Big 12-rival Texas Tech. The Sooners are expected to have a pre-season top 10 team in 2017 so the new coach is walking into a good situation even if he does have to follow one of the legends of the game in the big chair.