NORMAN, Okla. – Legendary Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Bob Stoops is retiring, effective immediately. The athletic department confirmed the news Wednesday.
33 year old Lincoln Riley, a former assistant coach at East Carolina who most recently served as OU’s offensive coordinator, is the Sooners new head coach. Riley becomes the youngest head coach in the football bowl subdivision (FBS).
“After 18 years at the University of Oklahoma, I’ve decided to step down as the head football coach,” Stoops said in a statement. “I understand there has been some speculation about my health. My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I’ve had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching. I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins. The program is in tremendous shape. We have outstanding players and coaches and are poised to make another run at a Big 12 and national championship. We have new state-of-the-art facilities and a great start on next year’s recruiting class. The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition.”
Bruce Feldman reports Stoops, 56 years old, “wants to go live life”.
Stoops steps away with a 190-and-48 record, 10 Big 12 conference titles and the 2001 BCS National Championship. He won more games than any other football coach in OU history.
Riley worked at ECU from 2010 to 2014, serving as the Pirates’ offensive coordinator and also as assistant head coach (2014). After being hired by Stoops in 2015 to run Oklahoma’s offense, he won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. During the past two seasons with Riley as offensive coordinator, the Sooners have the highest quarterback rating in the country with a combined mark of 179.8.
“I’m sincerely honored to be given this opportunity to be the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma,” Riley said in a statement. “I want to thank Coach Stoops for bringing me here two years ago and making me part of the Sooner family. He is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, at any level. I’m absolutely thankful for our friendship and for the mentorship he has provided.”