clear
Saturday December 16th, 2017 11:45AM

Lincoln Riley, 33, takes over as Oklahoma's football coach

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Just three years ago, Lincoln Riley was the offensive coordinator at East Carolina.

Now, he'll take the reins at Oklahoma, one of the most powerful programs in college football.

The 33-year-old Riley is being promoted to replace the retiring Bob Stoops. He becomes the youngest head coach in the Bowl Subdivision.

"As a young guy, as a coach, when you decide you're going to do this, these are things you just dream about," Riley said at a joint press conference with Stoops on Wednesday. "I feel like I'm honestly living a dream right now."

Though he is young, he is experienced and has had remarkable success with his offenses. His teams set numerous records at East Carolina, and his success continued as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator. In 2015, he helped the Sooners rank fourth nationally in scoring and seventh in total offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield finished fourth in the Heisman balloting, Riley won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach and the Sooners reached the College Football Playoff.

Last season, Oklahoma set an FBS record for passing efficiency and ranked second in total offense and third in scoring. Mayfield and wide receiver Dede Westbrook finished third and fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, respectively, and Westbrook won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's outstanding receiver.

"In Lincoln's case, he's far more prepared than maybe some that are 43, just by the nature of the special opportunities that came to him very early, at a very early age," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said.

Riley was considered a top coaching prospect nationally. Just last month, Oklahoma gave him a three-year contract extension worth $1.3 million per year, making him one of the highest-paid coordinators in the country. The transition to head coach happened so abruptly that Riley's parents weren't able to make it to the press conference on Wednesday.

"Right person at the right time," Castiglione said. "Maybe the good fortune of the stars aligning for him being a person that we had attracted to the University of Oklahoma through Coach Stoops."

Riley has massive shoes to fill. The 56-year-old Stoops was the longest-tenured active coach in major college football, taking the job at Oklahoma a day before Kirk Ferentz started at Iowa. He went 190-48 (.798) at Oklahoma in his only college head coaching job, giving him more victories than Sooners greats Barry Switzer (157) and Bud Wilkinson (145).

In just two years, Riley showed Stoops enough to make the coach feel comfortable that the right successor was in place. Stoops said he wouldn't have retired if he didn't believe the program would be in good hands. The list of reasons he gave explaining why Riley was prepared to take over was lengthy.

"All the things he really shows and demonstrates on a daily basis," Stoops said. "All the characteristics necessary to be a great leader and to be a successful head coach. He's a motivator, he's detailed, incredibly bright in putting together his game plans and his schemes, his play calling, his feel for the game, and I think probably the biggest thing I've noticed from day one is his ability to relate to the players."

Still, there will be an adjustment period since the Sooners had the same coach in place for 18 ½ years.

"Well, it's certainly going to be different," said defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, Bob's brother. "Change is tough sometimes, but this, it seems — if you're going to have transition for us, this is as good as it can get with a guy like Lincoln. Just his unique way of doing things and confidence and style that he brings is good, and it's going to be good for our players. They're going to embrace it."

Riley's first game will be at home against UTEP on Sept. 2. His second game will be at Ohio State. The players are ready to win for him.

"He's going to be a great coach," Oklahoma defensive back Will Johnson said. "I think coach Stoops is very comfortable with handing him the job. I don't think he would have done it without being confident in Lincoln Riley. So, great coach to the next one."

___

AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.

___

More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Police increase patrols in Tehran after Iran attacks
Iran's foreign minister is rejecting U.S. statements about the attacks on Iran's parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader
3:31AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Trump eases Qatar critique, offers to mediate Gulf spat
Trump offers to personally broker a resolution to the Persian Gulf's escalating diplomatic crisis, as both he and Qatar looked past his pointed critique of Qatar only a day before
3:26AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Under Trump, old deportation orders get new life
For years, thousands of immigrants have checked in regularly with federal deportation agents to show they've been following the country's laws even though they don't have a legal right to be here
3:23AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US Open spot on the line to select few at St. Jude
THE WEEK AHEAD: A long shot to get into the US Open in Memphis, an easy road to No. 1 in women's golf for Jutanugarn in Canada
2:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
LEADING OFF: Rockies visit Wrigley; Price vs Pineda, Yanks
LEADING OFF: Rockies visit Wrigley Field; Price vs Pineda at Yankee Stadium; Volquez coming off no-hitter
2:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
Perfect shot: Durant's late 3 gives Warriors 3-0 Finals lead
Still perfect, poised for payback: Warriors rally for 118-113 win over Cavs to take 3-0 lead in NBA Finals.
2:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: James, Irving leading the way, Cavs lead 108-107
LeBron James is two rebounds and two assists shy of his ninth career NBA Finals triple-double
11:33PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Cavaliers lead 94-89 heading into 4th quarter
Warriors Draymond Green in foul trouble, Cavaliers trying to take advantage in Game 3
11:12PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Warriors trying to hold off Cavs in Game 3
Warriors Draymond Green in foul trouble, Cavaliers trying to take advantage in Game 3
10:58PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Cosby's accuser stands by her story under cross-examination
The woman who says Bill Cosby drugged and molested her over a decade ago is off the stand after giving little ground during cross-examination
9:57PM ( 5 hours ago )
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops abruptly retires after 18 seasons
Bob Stoops has decided to retire as Oklahoma's football coach after 18 seasons that included the 2000 national championship and 10 Big 12 Conference titles
4:12PM ( 11 hours ago )
Cosby's chief accuser denies romance before alleged assault
Bill Cosby's chief accuser is denying any prior romance between them
12:42PM ( 15 hours ago )
College Sports
3 Michigan St players charged in campus sexual assault case
Three Michigan State football players have been charged with criminal sexual conduct in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred on campus in January
4:22PM ( 1 day ago )
Al Pacino to star as Penn State's Joe Paterno in HBO biopic
Al Pacino will star as late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming HBO biopic directed by Barry Levinson
11:45AM ( 1 day ago )
3 ex-Penn State officials sent to jail in Sandusky scandal
Penn State's former president and two other ex-administrators have been sentenced to at least two months in jail for hushing up a child sexual abuse allegation against Jerry Sandusky. Prosecutors say the delay enabled Sandusky to keep on molesting boys.
6:41PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Police increase patrols in Tehran after Iran attacks
Iran's foreign minister is rejecting U.S. statements about the attacks on Iran's parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader
3:31AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Trump eases Qatar critique, offers to mediate Gulf spat
Trump offers to personally broker a resolution to the Persian Gulf's escalating diplomatic crisis, as both he and Qatar looked past his pointed critique of Qatar only a day before
3:26AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Under Trump, old deportation orders get new life
For years, thousands of immigrants have checked in regularly with federal deportation agents to show they've been following the country's laws even though they don't have a legal right to be here
3:23AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Climate decision could accelerate damage to Trump properties
President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement could accelerate damage to his family's real estate empire in the coming decades, especially his properties that lie just feet from the encroaching sea in low-lying South Florida
3:03AM ( 41 minutes ago )
In Beijing, Perry promotes US-China clean energy cooperation
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says America and China have "extraordinary opportunities" to work together on clean energy
2:58AM ( 45 minutes ago )