OU head coach Lincoln Riley announces defensive staff changes following dismissal of Mike Stoops

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: A general view of the stadium during the West Virginia Mountaineers vs. the Oklahoma Sooners game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 59-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

NORMAN, Okla. – Following the dismissal of OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, head coach Lincoln Riley has announced who will take the position for the remainder of the season.

“I have great respect for Mike,” said Riley. “He’s a quality football coach, great man and a close friend. It became time for a change in our program and that happens sometimes in football, but we cannot lose sight of the accomplishments Mike had at Oklahoma. He was responsible for a lot of success and deserves the gratitude of everyone associated with Sooner football, not only for his role in the winning, but for coaching with integrity.”

The dismissal comes after Stoops’ Sooner defense gave up more than 500 yards of total offense in the 48-45 loss to Texas over the weekend.  It was the most points the Longhorns have ever scored in the Red River Rivalry.

Riley says for the remainder of the season, assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach Ruffin McNeill will serve as the defensive coordinator. Bob Diaco will move from defensive specialist to coach the outside linebackers.

According to OU, McNeill was defensive coordinator at UNLV from 1997 to 1998, and Fresno State in 1999. He later served as defensive coordinator with Texas Tech from 2008 to 2009 before taking over as head coach at East Carolina from 2010 to 2015. Diaco served as defensive coordinator at Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Nebraska. He was the head coach at Connecticut from 2014 to 2016.

“Ruffin has an impressive résumé,” Riley said. “That’s why I wanted him on our staff in the first place. I have confidence in his knowledge and leadership. Bob has a lot of experience in very good programs and also has a list of accomplishments that will help him step in and make an immediate impact. We are fortunate to have these men in our program. They’ll be ready to get to work in new roles right away.”

Stoops has been OU’s defensive coordinator since 2012, after spending eight seasons as the Arizona head coach, following his first stint at OU as defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003.