In news that sent shockwaves across the college football landscape, Lincoln Riley is leaving Oklahoma to be the next head coach at the University of Southern California.
“Leaving OU was probably the most difficult decision of my life,” Riley said in a statement. “OU is one of the best college football programs in the country, and it has been forever. That’s not going to change. It’s not going to change in the SEC, it’s not going to change with another head coach. It’s stood the test of time and it’s going to continue to do so. This was a personal decision solely based on my willingness to go take on a new challenge, and I felt like it was the right opportunity for me and my family to do that.”
The news came just a day after Riley’s Sooners lost to Oklahoma State 37-33 in the Bedlam Series. The loss was the second of the season for Oklahoma, and ended their hopes of a Big 12 Championship. No. 8 Baylor and No. 7 Oklahoma State will play for the conference title Saturday at 12:00 p.m. ET.
The decision is a major blow to the program, especially as they prepare to move to the SEC in the coming years.
“Oklahoma is one of the premier football programs and jobs in the country,” Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione said in a statement. “Our storied history, annual pursuit of conference and national championships, tremendous fan support, beautiful facilities and quality of life combine to make this an incredible place to recruit to and coach, and we have begun the search for our next great leader.”
“When we met with the team today, I communicated to our players that our program is about them,” Castiglione continued. “It will always be bigger than any one person. And just as it’s always been, Oklahoma football is positioned for greatness.”
Following Saturday’s loss to the Cowboys, Riley told reporters that he would not be taking the LSU head coaching position, a job he was rumored to be the favorite for.
“I’m not going to be the next head coach at LSU,” Riley said.
“I’m not going to be the next head coach at LSU. Next question.”
Lincoln Riley was asked about coaching rumors after Bedlam Saturday. pic.twitter.com/kzTJE8B3nU
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 28, 2021
Riley has been the head man at Oklahoma since taking over for the legendary Bob Stoops in 2017, leading the Sooners to a 55-10 record in five seasons at the helm, and three trips to the College Football Playoffs. Riley also gets a lot of credit for Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray winning back-to-back Heisman trophies in 2017 and 2018.
USC has been searching for its next head coach since firing Clay Helton in September, who went 46-24 in his seven years in charge of the program.
It’s a major hire for a USC program that has never made the College Football Playoff, and has lost its title as the dominant program on the West Coast.
“Lincoln is universally considered one of the brightest and most talented football coaches in the nation, and the fact that he chose USC is a testament to the strength of our brand, the power of the Trojan Family, and the leadership of our university,” Director of Athletics Mike Bohn said on Sunday. “This is for our current players, our former players, our alumni, our fans, and our entire university community. Our time is now.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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