It appears you can put the NFL rumors to rest when it comes to Lincoln Riley — for now.
Three days after Oklahoma was knocked out of the College Football Playoff by defending champion Alabama, OU announced that the university and Riley have reached an agreement in principle on a contract extension. The reworked deal will come with an unspecified salary increase.
The press release states that “[t]he contract terms are being finalized and will be subject to approval by the OU Board of Regents, which will meet later this month.”
Riley’s 2018 salary of $4.8 million was 16th nationally and fourth among Big 12 coaches, behind Texas’ Tom Herman ($5.5 million), Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy ($5 million) and TCU’s Gary Patterson ($4.84 million). It’s believed Riley’s new deal will be worth well north of $6 million annually.
The move comes amidst speculation regarding several openings in the NFL, particularly the Cleveland Browns. Riley has steadfastly maintained that he doesn’t see himself leaving the Sooners for the NFL, although he’s never completely shut the door.
The 35-year-old Riley just completed his second season at OU. In those two seasons, the Sooners have gone 24-4 and won a pair of Big 12 championships. The Sooners have also appeared in the playoffs both of those seasons and OU quarterbacks have claimed back-to-back Heisman Trophy wins — Kyler Murray this season (HERE), Baker Mayfield last (HERE).
Below are the quotes attributed to the pertinent parties distributed by the school:
HEAD COACH LINCOLN RILEY
“My family and I are very appreciative of the support the University of Oklahoma has shown. We’re thankful for the relationships we have with President Gallogly, Joe Castiglione, the OU Board of Regents and the entire Norman community. This has been a great home for us. We’ve had a great start and we’re excited for many more great years in the future.”
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR JOE CASTIGLIONE
“We’re obviously appreciative of what’s already been accomplished in such a short time, but strengthening our relationship with Lincoln is also important as we collectively focus on the larger goals of our program. He has proven to be one of the most innovative minds in the game today as well as a very successful leader for his student-athletes. His remarkable ascent as one of the most outstanding football coaches in America is grounded in creating the right environment for developing the best growth opportunities for all of his players. The incredible level of achievement and energy around our program all point to a very bright future under his leadership.
“Moreover, Lincoln and Caitlin are tremendous assets to our campus and state. Their representation of OU and contributions to several causes reflect a personal quality that all of us appreciate.”
PRESIDENT JAMES GALLOGLY
“We felt it important to extend and amend Lincoln’s contract at this time as we want him at the University of Oklahoma for a long time. He is a great coach and role model for our student-athletes. His record of success speaks for itself.
“Lincoln is also the right representative for our university in such a high-profile position. I am proud to work with him and anxious to support him as he takes our program into the future.”