Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley leaves Sooners for USC

Local Sports

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley watches his team play against Iowa State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

NORMAN, Okla. (KXAN) — Oklahoma Sooners football coach Lincoln Riley is leaving Norman for the USC job.

Riley has kept OU in the upper echelon of college football for the past five seasons, taking the Sooners to three straight College Football Playoff appearances. Yahoo Sports reporter Pete Thamel was first to report the news.

USC announced Riley’s hiring Sunday night.

“Leaving OU was probably the most difficult decision of my life,” Riley said in a statement released by Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s former head coach Bob Stoops hired Riley as his offensive coordinator before the 2015 season. When Stoops surprisingly retired in 2017, Riley was already in place as his successor.

Stoops will return to the sidelines for OU’s bowl game.

Riley has experienced massive success with OU with 55 wins and only 10 losses. OU won six straight Big 12 championships, starting when Riley was the Sooners’ offensive coordinator in 2015. That streak will end this year after Oklahoma was eliminated from championship contention in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State.

USC fired Clay Helton during the 2021 season after six full seasons as the Trojans head coach. Helton went 46-24 at USC.

This will certainly shake up college football. Oklahoma doesn’t have to go through coaching searches often, and rarely do coaches leave on their own volition. OU’s last true coaching search was in 1999 when Stoops arrived in Norman from the University of Florida.

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