The Oklahoma Sooners have found their man to replace Lincoln Riley, as the program has landed Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
OU confirmed the news on social media on Sunday night.
Venables is a name familiar to Sooners fans, as he was a long-time assistant coach under Bob Stoops and has won three national championship rings as a defensive coordinator.
Venables served on Stoops’ staff rom 1999-2011, with most of that tenure spent as the defensive coordinator or co-defensive coordinator. He led the defense that helped the Sooners win the 2000 national championship. He left the Sooners after the 2011 season to take the defensive coordinator position with the Clemson Tigers under Dabo Swinney.
With the Tigers, he helped build one of the best defenses in the country, and helped the Tigers win national championships in 2016 and 2018. In 2016, Venbales won the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Venables has been linked to other head-coaching jobs before. But, it’s been hard to pry him away from Clemson, in part because Venables is the highest-paid assistant coach in the country. He inked a $2.5 million per year extension with Clemson in July.
Both of his sons, Jake and Tyler, play at Clemson. But, the family climate has changed a bit. Jake announced last week that he was foregoing his final two years of eligibility due to injuries. The new transfer rules would allow Tyler to follow his dad to Norman without sitting out a year, if he so chooses.
Additionally, according to The Athletic, Ole Miss offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, an OU alum, could potentially join his staff.
Brent Venables will be the second-oldest head coach at Oklahoma at the time of his hiring. He turns 51 on December 18th, which trails only Howard Schnellenberger, who was 60 when he was hired.
Former Sooners head coach Bob Stoops will be the interim head coach for OU’s Alamo Bowl game against Oregon.