Oklahoma’s coaching search is winding down.
Multiple sources close to the situation have confirmed to SI Sooners that plans are being made for OU athletic director Joe Castiglione to stage an introductory press conference on Sunday or possibly early Monday.
It's unknown when an announcement could be made, although it is believed OU could break the news as early as Saturday before introducing the new coach on Sunday.
The coaching search has quietly raged since news broke Sunday that former head coach Lincoln Riley would trade his Norman real estate for life in Southern California and take the vacancy at USC.
OU hasn't confirmed that a press conference has been scheduled. Castiglione, who has been famously secretive any time he's hired a coach, has not returned multiple messages this week.
Castiglione said Monday there are multiple candidates "we may want to talk to that are engaged with teams that are playing (this weekend) in a conference championship," and that some of those candidates might advance to the College Football Playoff.
It is widely believed that Castiglione's focus has narrowed on Baylor head coach Dave Aranda, Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell, Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, although the search could also include a name not on that list.
It's not known which potential candidates Castiglione has visited with.
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While it’s never ideal to get a coach poached, the timing of the move immediately started the clock on Castiglione’s search.
Sooner legend and College Football Hall of Fame coach Bob Stoops was waiting in the wings as Castiglione's special assistant, happy to step in and serve as the interim head coach for OU’s upcoming bowl game.
But with National Signing Day rapidly approaching on Dec. 15, Oklahoma needs a permanent hire to begin recruiting both the 2022 class as well as the players still currently on campus who may be considering entry into the transfer portal.
Stoops said Thursday on his YouTube channel that he anticipated a hire to be made "this weekend sometime, the latest, maybe Monday."
The timing of the introductory press conference makes sense on another front as well.
Stoops is scheduled to be formally inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Foundation Awards Dinner on Tuesday night in Las Vegas. Stoops will attend a press conference at the Aria Hotel and Resort Tuesday morning, and he'll be accompanied Tuesday night by Castiglione and other members of OU's administration.
Pleasantries aside, the Sooners also want to get the press conferences out of the way so the new head coach can hit the road and begin recruiting for OU as quickly as possible ahead of signing day.
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