NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Following a heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys in Bedlam, Sooner fans were stunned by the news of a significant departure from the program.
On Sunday, sources confirmed to KFOR that OU head coach Lincoln Riley was leaving the university immediately after taking the head coaching job at the University of Southern California.
A short time later, the official announcement was made.
“My time at OU has included some of the most special years of my life and my family’s lives. I had so many great memories and made so many great friends that we’ll take with us forever. A lot of things that we were a part of here, I’m incredibly proud of — the success on the field, the success off the field, the players. Proud of the staff. Proud of the way we worked so well with the university and our administration. We’ve been able to have two phenomenal leaders in President Harroz and Joe Castiglione, and they have been everything I could ever ask for in this role and more.
Leaving OU was probably the most difficult decision of my life. OU is one of the best college football programs in the country, and it has been forever. That’s not going to change. It’s not going to change in the SEC, it’s not going to change with another head coach. It’s stood the test of time and it’s going to continue to do so. This was a personal decision solely based on my willingness to go take on a new challenge, and I felt like it was the right opportunity for me and my family to do that.
We’ll leave here with fond memories. It’ll be very difficult to say goodbye to Norman, but it will always be a part of our family, our history. I’ll be a Sooner fan as long as I live — a fan of this state, of this university and the people here. I love them all very much.”Lincoln Riley
Early Monday morning, Riley and several members of the OU coaching staff were seen boarding a flight to California.
Reports indicate that in addition to Riley, current OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, receivers coach Dennis Simmons, OU director of operations Clarke Stroud, and strength coach Bennie Wylie all headed to the airport.
Following the announcement, several key recruits have announced that they are decommitting from the University of Oklahoma.
Riley will not coach the Sooners in any postseason bowl game. Instead, former OU head coach Bob Stoops will come out of retirement to coach his former team.
And the OU Quarterback has announced he is entering the college transfer portal.