Oklahoma Sooners football head coach Bob Stoops announced he’s retiring after 18 seasons.
USA TODAY Sports
Lincoln Riley’s University of Oklahoma bio lists one sentence about his college playing career: “Part of a Texas Tech squad that played in the 2002 Tangerine Bowl.”
Even at 33, Riley’s coaching tenure is much more expansive and includes three stops as an assistant at FBS schools before he ascended to the head coaching level at the University of Oklahoma with Wednesday’s unexpected retirement of longtime Sooners coach Bob Stoops.
Riley was hired as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach January 2015 after he spent the prior five seasons with East Carolina, the last serving as the Pirates’ assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
Riley was given a three-year extension earlier this year that ran through January 2020 that paid an average salary of $1.3 million per season, making him one of the nation’s top-paid assistants. Riley was credited for sparking a Sooners offensive resurgence.
“Lincoln has really transformed our offense,” Stoops told USA TODAY Sports in December 2015.
Riley was a walk-on quarterback at Texas Tech, a team coached at the time by Washington State’s Mike Leach. He served seven seasons at Texas Tech in a stretch where the Red Raiders won five of seven bowl appearances.
“The biggest thing I took from Mike was just the mentality that I think you have to have if you want to be really good on offense,” Riley told USA TODAY Sports in September 2014. “That kind of fearless, always in attack mode, always believing in what we’re doing mode. … I took from Mike that you’ve got to stick to your guns. If we have a bad game, we’re not changing anything. We have a lot of confidence in our system, what we’re doing. This is a group that believes we’re going to score every time we touch the ball, regardless of who we’re playing. It’s not cocky — our kids just believe in themselves.”
Riley, a native of Muleshoe, Texas, has coached two Heisman finalists at Oklahoma (Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook) and future NFL players at Texas Tech (Michael Crabtree) and East Carolina (Justin Hardy and Dwayne Harris).
BOB STOOPS THROUGH THE YEARS