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BREAKING: Brent Venables Hired at Oklahoma

While waiting for a plane carrying Venables and OU athletic director Joe Castiglione to take off from South Carolina, multiple reports broke Sunday night confirming the news.

Stop the search. Oklahoma has its man.

Former OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables will soon be formally introduced as the 23rd head football coach at the University of Oklahoma.

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione has spent most of Sunday in Greenville, SC, meeting with Venables with an offer to replace Lincoln Riley.

Multiple reports from national news outlets broke while the facilities at Max Westheimer Airport in Norman began to fill up with fans, The Pride, the Sooner Schooner and the ponies who pull it, Boomer and Sooner.

Soon after those reports were confirmed, Castiglione himself posted a "lock" emoji, signifying he has his coach and the contract is signed.

Minutes later, per the flight tracking website FlightAware.com, the FlexJet 654 carrying Castiglione, OU president Joe Harroz and others left the ground and disembarked for Norman.

Bob Stoops will still serve as the interim head coach for Alamo Bowl while another branch of his coaching tree gets settled in at OU.

Brent Venables

Brent Venables and Bob Stoops 

Venables served as Stoops’ co-defensive coordinator from 1999-2004 and associate head coach and defensive coordinator from 2005-2011 before leaving to take the same position at Clemson.

Between his time at OU and Clemson, Venables’ defenses have played major factors in winning three national championships and five runners-up, and he will now return to Norman to stabilize the program and attempt to take it to heights previously not reached by Lincoln Riley.

Humble Beginnings

Born in Salina, KS, Venables worked his way up through the ranks in college football.

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After playing linebacker at Garden City Community College and then transferring to play under Bill Synder at Kansas State, Venables stayed in Manhattan and began his coaching career.

Serving as a graduate assistant from 1993-95 under then-Kansas State co-defensive coordinator Bob Stoops, Venables was then promoted to linebackers coach from 1996-98.

After the '98 season, Stoops hired Venables as his co-defensive coordinator alongside his brother, Mike Stoops. Venables was a Bob Stoops assistant for 13 seasons in all.

When Mike Stoops returned to OU’s staff following the 2011 season, Venables opted for a change of scenery and joined the Clemson Tigers.

At Clemson, Venables’ stature as one of the best defensive minds in college football was cemented, as he transformed the Tigers’ defense and played a major role in Dabo Swinney’s two national championships and two second-place finishes. Venables won the Broyles Award in 2016 as the top assistant coach in college football.

In all, Venables has coached in eight national championship games (four at OU, four at Clemson) as he helped rebuild Oklahoma’s championship pedigree and helped Swinney take Clemson to unprecedented heights.

Brent Venables, Clemson Tigers

Brent Venables

Family Man

Venables and his wife Julie, have two sons, Jake and Tyler, who both played for him at Clemson, as well as two daughters, Laney and Addie.

Jake Venables, an oft-injured junior linebacker, announced last month he was stepping away from the Clemson program to be able to pursue academic opportunities. 

“He wants to go to grad school. He’s got internships all set up,” Brent Venables said on Nov. 24. “So he’s got a good plan in place and a lot of peace about it.

“I’m proud of him. He’s been a very committed guy. He’s been as consistent as anybody we’ve had as far as his mindset and his work ethic. He’s been a great teammate and easy to coach. I’m proud of him for what he’s been able to accomplish." 

Tyler is currently a sophomore safety on the Tigers' roster who enjoyed his first career interception in October.

“He’s still learning how to play safety," Venables said. "But I’ve seen Tyler just get better and better. The more he’s played, the better he’s gotten."