USC Hires Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley As Next Head Coach: Report
By Jason Hall
November 28, 2021
"Lincoln Riley is leaving OU to become the new head coach at USC, per sources," Feldman tweeted. "It is happening. HUGE get for the Trojans and the Pac-12."
Riley is one of the biggest names in college football having led Oklahoma to four consecutive Big 12 championships during his first four seasons as the Sooners' head coach (2017-21) and three College Football Playoff appearances, as well as a 10-2 (7-2 Big 12) record in 2021.
The 38-year-old had previously served as the Sooners' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015 and 2016 under former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, taking over as head coach after Stoops' retirement in 2017.
Riley denied speculation that he was considering leaving Oklahoma for the LSU head coaching vacancy after the Sooners' 37-33 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday (November 27) and appeared to reaffirm his commitment after being asked about questions within OU's athletic department.
"No concerns about our administration, our AD, our president," Riley said via ESPN. "We've been through a lot together. This isn't our first rodeo together. So we always have conversations about the future and certainly with all that's changing right now on the college landscape, all that's getting ready to change.
"For us at some point here, we transition into a new conference. Those are always conversations that we're going to have, and we will be having those yearly, no matter what. All of us are trying to make this place better, make this program better, and so you don't do that without working together and conversing with each other. So of course we're gonna continue to do that. We work well together, and we're going to keep working well together."
USC fired former head coach Clay Helton, citing "expectations would not be met without a change in leadership" in September.
Helton, who initially served as a quarterbacks coach under former Trojans coach Lane Kiffin, handled offensive coordinator duties under former head coach Steve Sarkisian and filled two previous stints as an interim head coach, was promoted to full-time head coach in 2015.
The Gainesville native went 46-24 and led USC to a Pac-12 championship in 2017, as well as three Pac-12 South Division titles (2015, 2017, 2020), but struggled to meet the expectations of a program that was previously a national contender.