Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley formally announced his decision to leave OU for USC on Sunday night, calling it “probably the most difficult decision of my life.”
OU president Joe Harroz and OU athletic director Joe Castiglione also issued statements via an athletic department press release. Here’s what Harroz and Castiglione said:
“We’re grateful to Lincoln Riley for his leadership as head coach of our football program these past five seasons, and we wish him the best at USC. As Sooners we know that our better days are always ahead of us, and we’re committed to the continued success of our storied football program. Though we’ve had stars and icons throughout the years, Sooner football isn’t defined by any one individual, but by the excellence we have enjoyed and sustained for generations. Our future is unlimited, and we will undoubtedly find a visionary leader for our next exciting chapter. Until then, we’re fortunate to be in the tremendous hands of Sooner legend Coach Bob Stoops. Boomer!”
“I’d like to thank Coach Riley for all he has done to help our football program since he arrived in Norman in 2015. The leadership and ingenuity he displayed during his two years as offensive coordinator made our decision to promote him to head coach when Bob Stoops retired a no-brainer, and he certainly lived up to expectations in his five years as head coach.
“Oklahoma is one of the premier football programs and jobs in the country. Our storied history, annual pursuit of conference and national championships, tremendous fan support, beautiful facilities and quality of life combine to make this an incredible place to recruit to and coach, and we have begun the search for our next great leader.
“Coach Stoops, who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame next week, will serve as our interim head coach. He is looking forward to the opportunity and we certainly appreciate all he has done and continues to do for our athletics department and football program. Our team and players are in great hands under his leadership.
“When we met with the team today, I communicated to our players that our program is about them. It will always be bigger than any one person. And just as it’s always been, Oklahoma football is positioned for greatness.”