|Position:||Head Coach, Quarterbacks|
|Alma Mater:||Texas Tech|
After presiding over two of the most prolific offenses in OU history as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015 and 2016, Lincoln Riley took over the program’s head coaching reins on June 7, 2017, following the retirement of one of the most accomplished coaches of the last quarter century in Bob Stoops. OU’s 22nd head coach, all Riley has done in his first two years at the helm is lead the Sooners to their 11th and 12th Big 12 titles and to a pair of College Football Playoff berths. He was also named the 2018 Co-Big 12 Coach of the Year.
The Football Bowl Subdivision’s youngest head coach (33) at the time of his hiring, Riley became just the fifth mentor in FBS history with no previous head-coaching experience at a four-year college to win at least 12 games in his debut season. At 24-4, he also holds the OU record for most wins by a head coach in his first two seasons (Barry Switzer held the previous mark with 21 over the 1973 and '74 seasons). No one has won more games in his first two seasons as a college head coach since 1892 and '93.
Originally from the 5,000-person West Texas town of Muleshoe, Riley, who continues to call Oklahoma’s offensive plays as head coach, has become a star in college football by overseeing an explosive — and balanced — OU offense the last four seasons.
Since the start of the 2015 campaign, OU ranks first nationally in points per game (45.3; next most is 41.9), total offense (559.3; next most is 526.5), touchdowns from scrimmage (308; next most is 282), pass efficiency rating (189.5; next best is 160.8), completion percentage (69.2; tied) and yards per pass attempt (10.7), and is fifth in passing offense (328.2) and 11th in rushing offense (231.1). With that kind of offensive production, it’s no surprise the Sooners have posted a 46-8 (.852) record since his arrival (33-3 in Big 12 play). OU’s overall mark since 2015 is fourth best nationally, with only Alabama (54-3), Clemson (53-4) and Ohio State (47-6) having better records during that span.
Individual player honors and accomplishments have poured in under Riley, highlighted by quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray becoming OU’s sixth and seventh Heisman Trophy winners in 2017 and 2018. Mayfield also won the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, Manning and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards, was named AP Player of the Year and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Murray has also won the Davey O’Brien Award and been named AP Player of the Year. Receiver Dede Westbrook finished fourth in Heisman voting in 2016 and became OU’s first winner of the Biletnikoff Award, while tight end Mark Andrews claimed the school’s first Mackey Award in 2017. Seven Sooners have earned first-team All-America honors the last two years. Running back Joe Mixon set the OU single-season record with 2,331 all-purpose yards in 2016, while backfield mate Samaje Perine set the school career rushing record with 4,122 yards in only three seasons.
Oklahoma’s newest head man joined the Sooners in January 2015 after he caught the eye of Stoops during a highly successful five-year stint as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Ruffin McNeill at East Carolina from 2010-14. With OU looking for a new play caller and wanting to get back to the up-tempo attack it helped make mainstream, Riley’s numbers at ECU made him the perfect hire.
At East Carolina, Riley installed and directed a spread offensive scheme that made an immediate impact as the Pirates set more than 50 team or individual school offensive records in his five seasons with the program. His squads recorded the top five passing seasons in school history and the top four marks for total offense in a season.
He spent his final season with the Pirates serving in the role of assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2014 as the team ranked third in the nation in passing offense (371.9 ypg) and was fifth in total offense (533.0 ypg). With Riley calling the shots, the Pirates set a single-season school record with 6,929 yards of total offense.
Riley’s East Carolina offensive units routinely earned national top-10 rankings in major statistical categories such as passing offense (third in 2014, eighth in 2010), scoring offense (fifth in 2014, eighth in 2013), third-down conversion percentage (seventh in 2013) and red zone scoring efficiency (third in 2012, fifth in 2010).
Among his notable pupils, Riley helped transform a pair of East Carolina wide receivers into the most productive pass catchers in FBS history. He guided walk-on Justin Hardy to 387 career catches, breaking the NCAA record previously held by OU’s Ryan Broyles (349). Hardy’s 4,541 career receiving yards rank third all-time in FBS annals as he flourished in Riley’s offense, registering three 1,000-yard seasons at ECU that culminated with a 121-catch, 1,494-yard year as a senior in 2014. Riley also coached recent second-round NFL draft selection Zay Jones for the first two years of his career. Jones went on to break Hardy’s record and is the NCAA’s leader in career receptions (399) and receptions in a season (158 in 2016).
Already overseeing Mayfield’s record-setting career, Riley also developed dynamic quarterbacks Dominique Davis and Shane Carden at ECU. Conference USA’s 2010 Newcomer of the Year, Davis set ECU career marks for completions and TD passes despite playing just two seasons. Davis ranked second among FBS signal callers with 393 completions and 46 total touchdowns in 2010. He set an NCAA record with 36 straight completions in 2011.
Carden took over the job in 2012 and went on to break the majority of Davis’ records, becoming the first 4,000-yard passer in program history and setting single-season standards for completion percentage (70.5 in 2013) and passing yards (4,736 in 2014). Carden earned Conference USA MVP honors in 2013 and was the American Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2014. He led all FBS passers with 392 completions in 2014.
Prior to East Carolina, Riley spent seven seasons on the staff at Texas Tech, where he was part of seven bowl teams and five bowl wins. During that span, Red Raiders quarterbacks won NCAA passing titles in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. A walk-on quarterback at Tech during the spring and summer of 2003 who then became a student coach, Riley immersed himself in head coach Mike Leach’s offense and worked his way into a full-time position as wide receivers coach in 2007. He served as inside receivers coach in 2008 and ‘09, and eventually called plays as interim offensive coordinator in the 2010 Alamo Bowl, where the Red Raiders racked up 579 yards in a 41-31 victory over Michigan State to cap the 2009 season.
Under Riley’s guidance in 2007, wide receiver Michael Crabtree won the Biletnikoff Award after smashing Big 12 records and NCAA freshman standards with 134 receptions for 1,962 yards. Crabtree also accumulated 22 touchdown catches his first season. In fact, wide receiver Danny Amendola joined Crabtree that year as Texas Tech receivers who each amassed 100-catch, 1,000-yard efforts.
A 2006 Texas Tech graduate who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sport sciences, Riley and his wife, Caitlin, have two daughters, Sloan and Stella.
• Kyler Murray (Oklahoma); Heisman Trophy; Davey O'Brien Award, AP Player of the Year, First-Team All-American; Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year
• Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma); Heisman Trophy; Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Manning Award, Unanimous First-Team All-American; Two-time First-Team All-American; Sporting News National Player of the Year; Two-time Burlsworth Trophy winner; Two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year
• Mark Andrews (Oklahoma); Mackey Award; Unanimous First-Team All-American
• Orlando Brown (Oklahoma); Unanimous First-Team All-American; Outland Trophy Finalist
• Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma); First-Team All-American
• Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma); Heisman Finalist; Biletnikoff Award; Unanimous First-Team All-American; Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year
• Justin Hardy (East Carolina), Falcons; Burlsworth Trophy; All-Conference USA First Team; All-AAC First Team
• Shane Carden (East Carolina); Conference USA MVP; AAC Offensive Player of the Year
• Dominique Davis (East Carolina), Winnipeg Blue Bombers; Conference USA Newcomer of the Year
• Dwayne Harris (East Carolina), Giants; All-Conference USA First Team
• Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), Raiders; Biletnikoff Award; All-America First Team; All-Big 12 First Team
• Danny Amendola (Texas Tech), Patriots