Southern Cal hires Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma
Lincoln Riley, the accomplished head coach at the University of Oklahoma, is leaving the Sooners to become the next head coach at Southern California, per multiple media reports.
Riley informed his staff Sunday.
Riley, 38, excelled as an assistant coach at Texas Tech and East Carolina before being hired as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in 2015. He inherited the top job at the Oklahoma program when former coach Bob Stoops retired in June 2017.
The Sooners rolled to a 12-2 record and the College Football Playoff in his first season, losing to Georgia in the semifinals at the Rose Bowl 54-48 in double overtime.
Oklahoma made two more playoff appearances during his tenure and won four straight Big 12 championships, as Riley accumulated a 55-10 record in five seasons.
Riley led the Sooners to a 10-2 record and third-place finish in the Big 12 in 2020.
The Trojans job came open when USC athletic director Mike Bohn fired Clay Helton on Sept. 13, two days after Southern Cal was wrecked 42-28 by Stanford, which is now 3-9.
Helton went 46-24 at USC, with multiple seasons of double-digit wins, but the program had slipped in recent years. USC is just 4-7 this year.
The move comes as a bombshell in the sport, not only because of its high-profile nature, but also because Riley had cut off questioning about a potential move to LSU Saturday night by saying in part, “I’m not going to be the next coach at LSU. Next question.”
Those LSU rumors ended up being a smokescreen for this move, with USC not being listed as a likely destination for Riley during its own head coaching search.
ESPN is reporting that Oklahoma will pursue Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury for its vacancy.
–Field Level Media