NORMAN, Okla. - It's a move that stunned Sooner fans across the country.
On Wednesday, sources confirmed to NewsChannel 4 that University of Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops is planning to retire.
The source says that it is "his choice" and "his timing," adding that current offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will take over as head coach of the team.
Stoops is the winningest football coach in Oklahoma history and has been the head coach of the team for the past 18 years.
Last season, the Sooners ended on a high note when they defeated Auburn in the Sugar Bowl 35-19.
The 56-year-old coach gained national attention when he led the Sooners to an undefeated season, which ended with a national championship title win over Florida State.
Under his leadership, Stoops has won nine Big 12 titles and tied for another.
During the BCS era, Stoops was the only coach to win a national championship and every BCS bowl game.
Now, it seems like the freshman phenom Lincoln Riley will take over at the helm of the program. Riley joined the program in 2015, but has already become one of the brightest young coaches in college football.
In 2015, he received the Broyles Award, which is given to the nation's top assistant coach.
Last season, OU's offense led the nation in passing efficiency and pass completion percentage under Riley's guidance.The offense ended the season ranked second in total offense and third in scoring offense.
Last month, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a three-year contract extension for Riley.
Riley’s contract was set to run through the end of the 2019 season, making it the longest contract extension for an OU football assistant coach. The contract extension also made Riley one of the highest paid assistant coaches in the country, earning $1.3 million per season the next three years.
The first game of the season is set for Sept. 2 at Gaylord Family- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium against UTEP.
Following the news, many former OU players spoke out to thank Stoops for his support and coaching throughout the years.
Gov. Mary Fallin released the following statement:
“Coach Bob Stoops certainly revitalized pride among the Sooner Nation on his way to becoming one of our country’s most successful college football coaches. He is the winningest coach in the University of Oklahoma’s football program during his 18 seasons in Norman. I appreciate how he always represented our state well both on and off the field. He always offered a hand when needed, such as during times of disaster. I especially appreciate that he had a winning record against the University of Texas. I’ll miss seeing Coach Stoops on the sidelines, but I wish him and his family the best.”