Oklahoma hires East Carolina's Lincoln Riley as offensive coordinator

Friday January 9th, 2015

East Carolina offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Lincoln Riley has accepted the same position at Oklahoma, according to a source.

Riley is considered one of college football’s brightest young offensive minds and comes from the coaching tree of Washington State’s Mike Leach, a successful former assistant for Sooners coach Bob Stoops.

The 31-year-old Riley has been East Carolina’s offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and associate head coach since 2010, when he became then the youngest coordinator in the FBS. This season, his unit ranked fifth in the FBS in total offense (533 yards per game) and 22nd in scoring offense (35.8 points per game) for the 8-5 Pirates.

While Riley was raised in Leach’s Air Raid offense, Riley’s scheme has more tempo, more formations and is more committed to running the football. Prior to East Carolina, Riley was an assistant under Leach at Texas Tech, where he coached inside receivers from 2008-09 and wide receivers in 2007.

• INSIDE READ: Meet former East Carolina assistant Lincoln Riley

When Leach was suspended for the 2009 Alamo Bowl amidst allegations that he abused a player, then-interim coach Ruffin McNeill had Riley call the plays in Texas Tech’s 41-31 victory against Michigan State. Less than three weeks later, McNeill left the Red Raiders for his current job as East Carolina’s head coach and took Riley with him.

The Muleshoe, Texas, native was a student assistant and graduate assistant at Texas Tech for four years after he spent a season leading the scout team following his arrival as a walk-on in 2002. He replaces former Sooners offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel, who was let go last week after four seasons as play-caller.

Riley has received interest in the past about offensive coordinator jobs at programs including Kentucky, North Carolina and Notre Dame. Leach was an assistant at Oklahoma during Stoops’ first season as coach in 1999.

• STAPLES: Ohio State used Oregon's model to become contender

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.