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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Sooners Greet New Era Under Lincoln Riley


Editor’s Note: Much of the content of this article is courtesy of the NCAA.

The collegiate football nation was shocked with the June 7 announcement from University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Vice President and Athletics Director Joe Castiglione that Bob Stoops retired as head coach of the legendary program after 18 years at the helm.

His successor, highly-touted current offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, is at the ready to lead the Sooners.

Riley says, “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 a 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.

“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.”

Stoops will remain as special assistant to the athletics director. Stoops, owner of the most wins in Oklahoma football history and engineer of 10 Big 12 Conference titles and the 2000 national championship, said now is the appropriate time to conclude his illustrious run in Norman.

Stoops, who owns a 190-48 (.798) record at OU and coached the Sooners to a school-record 18 consecutive bowl berths, is the only coach to win the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and the national championship. He accumulated more victories over his first 18 seasons than any coach in the game’s history.

The Youngstown, Ohio, native also guided the Sooners to the most wins of any Power 5 program over the last 18 years. Among those programs, only Ohio State can claim a better winning percentage during the span.

Stoops, 56, led the Sooners to double-digit wins in 14 of his 18 seasons — the most of any FBS coach since 2000 — and to at least eight victories in each of the last 17 campaigns, good for the longest active streak in the nation. Seven of his squads finished in the AP top five, including each of the last two, while three more finished No. 6.

Riley, 33, takes over the Sooners’ reins as the program’s 22nd head coach. He has spent the previous two seasons as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, presiding over one of the nation’s most powerful offenses.

Riley was named the recipient of the 2015 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach following his first season in Norman. The offense ranked fourth nationally in scoring (43.5 ppg) and seventh in total offense (530.2 ypg). Mayfield was named the Sporting News National Player of the Year, while Westbrook was Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year. Eight offensive players earned all-league honors.

Over the past two seasons with Riley as offensive coordinator, the Sooners have the highest quarterback rating in the country with a combined mark of 179.8.

Riley came to Oklahoma after five seasons at East Carolina where he held titles of assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2014) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2010-13). The Pirates set more than 50 team or individual school offensive records in his five seasons with the program. His five squads recorded the top five passing seasons in school history and the top four positions for total offense in a season.

Prior to East Carolina, Riley spent seven seasons at his alma mater Texas Tech, where he was part of seven bowl teams and five bowl wins. During that span, Red Raiders quarterbacks won NCAA passing titles in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. After serving as a student assistant from 2003-05, he was promoted to offensive assistant in 2006 and wide receivers coach in 2007. He moved to coaching inside receivers in 2008 and 2009 and called plays for Texas Tech as interim coordinator in the 2010 Alamo Bowl.

Updated 06-15-2017

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