Lincoln Riley turned the 2021 coaching carousel upside down on Sunday, as the Oklahoma Sooners head coach reportedly left Norman, Oklahoma for Los Angeles to become the next head coach of the USC Trojans.
On Sunday night, USC made it official with a Twitter post introducing Riley as the program’s next head coach.
“We are ecstatic to announce Lincoln Riley as our new head coach and welcome his wife Caitlin and their daughters Sloan and Stella to the Trojan Family,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in a press release. “Lincoln is the rarest combination of extraordinary person and elite football coach. His successes and offensive accolades as a head coach the past five years are astonishing. Lincoln will recruit relentlessly, develop his players on and off the field, and implement a strong culture in which the program will operate with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.”
UPDATE from On3’s Matt Zenitz: “The expectation is that defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, co-OC/offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons will be among the Oklahoma assistants that follow Lincoln Riley to USC, sources tell On3.”
Contract details have yet to be announced. Per USA Today, Riley was the fifth-highest paid coach this season with a $7.672 million salary.
In his fifth season with the Sooners, Riley was tabbed as the heir to the Bob Stoops’ dynasty. Oklahoma is 10-2 this season and was on the cusp of a College Football Playoff berth until its loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday night. A win would have set up the Sooners to meet the Cowboys in Dallas for the Big 12 title this coming weekend.
Riley took over for Stoops in June 2017. Initially hired by Stoops as an offensive coordinator in 2015, Riley built the Sooners into a top-10 offense in the 2016 season and won the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach. With Riley’s departure, the Sooners brought Stoops out of retirement to take over as the interim head coach.
With a 55-10 overall record and 37-7 mark in conference play at Oklahoma, Riley has made the playoff four times but still doesn’t have a national title game appearance. Making the move to USC gives the 38-year-old head coach a backyard loaded with talent.
“I am truly excited to come to USC and join the Trojan Family as its new head football coach,” Riley said in USC’s press release. “USC has an unparalleled football tradition with tremendous resources and facilities, and the administration has made a deep commitment to winning. I look forward to honoring that successful tradition and building on it. The pieces are in place for us to build the program back to where it should be and the fans expect it to be. We will work hard to develop a physical football team that is dominant on both lines of scrimmage, and has a dynamic balanced offense and a stout aggressive defense.”