Sports

Riley leaving Oklahoma for USC, sources say

Lincoln Riley said he wasn’t leaving Oklahoma for LSU.

He didn’t say he wasn’t leaving the Sooners for USC.

In a stunning move on Sunday, Riley, 38, accepted the head-coaching position at USC, according to ESPN and multiple reports. He replaces former Trojans coach Clay Helton, who was fired in September after posting a 46-24 record in seven seasons.

Riley guided the Sooners to four consecutive Big 12 titles and three College Football Playoff appearances in his first four seasons. Oklahoma was eliminated from the Big 12 championship game following a 37-33 loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday night.

Following the Bedlam loss, after there was widespread speculation that he was LSU’s choice to replace the departing Ed Orgeron, Riley said, “I’m not going to be the next head coach at LSU.”

Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 7, will coach the Sooners’ bowl game, a university source told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, confirming multiple reports.

Stoops coached the Sooners for 18 seasons before retiring in June 2017. He led Oklahoma to a national championship in 2000, 10 Big 12 championships and 14 seasons of double-digit victories, and held a 190-48 overall record before handing off the program to Riley ahead of the 2017 season. He has remained active around the program, including helping to coach a practice last year when the staff was short-handed due to COVID-19 cases.

Riley’s departure is a big blow to the Sooners, who are about to transition into the SEC. Riley had a 55-10 record in five seasons, including a 37-7 mark in the Big 12.

Oklahoma has targeted Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury as one of the potential replacements for Riley, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kingsbury has one year remaining on his contract after this season.

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