Lincoln Riley: The Perfect Coach for 2020

Oklahoma's precocious coach continues to evolve offensively as he adapts to COVID-19, BLM and more
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Is Lincoln Riley the ideal coach in this time of national crises?

That’s the idea posited by Sports Illustrated in Tuesday’s Cover Story, a profile on the Oklahoma football coach by Sports Illustrated senior writer Greg Bishop that explores Riley’s precocious leadership skills and his prodigious football talents.

“We’re watching a coach with extraordinary intellect develop before our eyes,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione told Bishop. “That’s an extraordinary experience to behold.”

Bishop details the backstory of not only Riley’s transition from wide-eyed freshman quarterback to 19-year-old Texas Tech assistant coach to offensive coordinator at East Carolina to Bob Stoops replacement at OU, but his tact, sensitivity and foresight in handling challenges unprecedented for any coach in any sport.

Bishop also interviews several of Riley’s greatest coaching influences — of whom there aren’t many.

“The guys I study have been guys who have been able to take winning teams, championship teams, whatever, and continue to build — no matter what happens.”

That, apparently, includes pandemics and social justice protests.

Riley compared coaching to solving a puzzle. In these uncommon times, the puzzle has changed.

“It’s still a puzzle,” Riley said. ““Same philosophy. Why change now?”


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