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Lincoln Riley Breaks Silence: 'Leaving OU Was The Most Difficult Decision Of My Life'

USC hired Lincoln Riley to serve as their next head football coach on Nov. 28.

Lincoln Riley is officially heading to Los Angeles to serve as USC's next head football coach.

The university announced the news on Nov. 28, in a press release. 

"We are ecstatic to announce Lincoln Riley as our new head coach and welcome his wife Caitlin and their daughters Sloan and Stella to the Trojan Family,” said USC athletic director Mike Bohn

"Lincoln is the rarest combination of extraordinary person and elite football coach. His successes and offensive accolades as a head coach the past five years are astonishing. Lincoln will recruit relentlessly, develop his players on and off the field, and implement a strong culture in which the program will operate with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.

Lincoln is universally considered one of the brightest and most talented football coaches in the nation, and the fact that he chose USC is a testament to the strength of our brand, the power of the Trojan Family, and the leadership of our university. This is for our current players, our former players, our alumni, our fans, and our entire university community. Our time is now.”

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Riley, 38, has spent five seasons with the Oklahoma Sooner's and led the team to a 55-10 overall record. In a press release provided by Oklahoma Athletics, Riley admitted that leaving OU was 'the most difficult decision of my life.'

"My time at OU has included some of the most special years of my life and my family's lives. I had so many great memories and made so many great friends that we'll take with us forever. A lot of things that we were a part of here, I'm incredibly proud of — the success on the field, the success off the field, the players. Proud of the staff. Proud of the way we worked so well with the university and our administration. We've been able to have two phenomenal leaders in President Harroz and Joe Castiglione. They have been everything I could ever ask for in this role and more.

Leaving OU was probably the most difficult decision of my life. OU is one of the best college football programs in the country, and it has been forever. That's not going to change. It's not going to change in the SEC, it's not going to change with another head coach. It's stood the test of time and it's going to continue to do so. This was a personal decision solely based on my willingness to go take on a new challenge, and I felt like it was the right opportunity for me and my family to do that.

We'll leave here with fond memories. It'll be very difficult to say goodbye to Norman, but it will always be a part of our family, our history. I'll be a Sooner fan as long as I live — a fan of this state, of this university and the people here. I love them all very much."

USC will formally announce Riley in a press conference on Monday, Nov. 29. Donte Williams will remain USC’s interim head coach for Troy's final game of the 2021 season, against the Cal Bears, while Riley immediately transitions to USC.

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