Skip to main content

Oklahoma Coach Brent Venables, Part 2: The Early Days

Venables was hired as the new head coach of the Sooners on Sunday after serving as the defensive coordinator at Clemson since 2012.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is Part 2 of a three-part series today after Brent Venables has been hired as head football coach at Oklahoma.


After an intense, week-long coaching search, Oklahoma has landed its next football coach.

On Sunday, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was hired as the new head coach of the Sooners, returning back to the place he coached for more than a decade.

Venables, who turns 51 in less than two weeks, is very familiar with the area, having grown up less than four hours away in Salina, KS.

A graduate of Salina South High School in 1989, Venables’ playing days continued to the next level at in-state Garden City Community College.

In two seasons at Garden City, Venables was a one-man wrecking crew on the field, racking up 276 career tackles and earning All-America honors.

He then was given the opportunity to continue his collegiate career at Kansas State under legendary coach Bill Snyder, where he accumulated 124 tackles in two seasons and was named honorable mention All-Big Eight in 1992.

Read More

Venables developed a relationship with Snyder that allowed him to serve as a graduate assistant on the coaching staff after his playing days finished from 1993-1995 before earning the job as the linebackers coach in 1996.

He then left his alma mater to become co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Oklahoma prior to the 1999 season, joining Bob Stoops, who had previously developed a relationship with Venables when they were members of the Wildcats staff.

Brent Venables

Brent Venables

Venables is the youngest of three boys in his family, with his father and mother splitting up when he was just 2 years old.

His father, Ron Venables, reportedly served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force. His mother, Nancy Schumaker, raised Venables and his two brothers.

Venables is married to the former Julie Anne Fisher. They have four kids: sons Jake and Tyler and daughters Delaney and Addison.

Both sons have played at Clemson. Jake Venables is a redshirt junior linebacker and Tyler Venables is a sophomore safety.