Big 12 News

Lincoln Riley Leaving Oklahoma to be USC Head Coach

NCAA Football: Houston at Oklahoma

Barely 12 hours had passed since Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said he would not be the next head coach at LSU, but now the rising star is leaving Norman for sunny Southern California to be the next head coach of the USC Trojans.

USC made the news official on Sunday night on social media.


Riley became the head coach in 2017 after spending two seasons as the offensive coordinator under Bob Stoops. He won the Big 12 Championship his first four seasons as the head coach, but after losing to Oklahoma State in Bedlam on Saturday night, the Sooners can’t win the conference this season.

As head coach of the Sooners, Riley has a 55-10 record and is 37-7 in Big 12 play. At just 38 years old, Riley is considered one of the best young coaches in the sport and has been tied to other college and NFL openings in recent offseasons.

USC football has been in a rut for several seasons now, winning double-digit games just four times since 2010. The program fired Clay Helton early in the season and has been patiently waiting to make a splash for nearly three months.


Riley has successfully recruited California, but has no personal ties to the West Coast. He’s a small town Texas kid, coached at Texas Tech before moving to East Carolina, and then joining OU. He even has two pets Boomer and Sooner and was expected to follow in Stoops’ footsteps as a coach who would embrace OU and Norman the same way Stoops did where he was the head coach for nearly two decades.

But now for OU, the search is on for the first head coach at Oklahoma to leave for another college job since Jim Tatum left for Maryland in 1947. However, that hire worked out well, as Bud Wilkinson took over the program.


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