NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a three-year contract extension for OU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Lincoln Riley on Thursday. Riley's contract now runs through the 2019 season and is the longest ever for an OU football assistant coach.
Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said Riley, whose two years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach have coincided with some of the best offensive production in school history, and OU started working on the extension soon after the 2016 season ended.
"This has been in the works for a few months," said Stoops, who has won 10 Big 12 Championships, including the last two. "Lincoln's done a phenomenal job in his two years here and we're excited for him and his family. They're great people and have fully immersed themselves into the Oklahoma community. He's fully committed to OU and what we're doing as a university and football program, and all of us are looking forward to continuing to work together to develop young men on and off the field, and bring more championships to Norman."
Riley expressed gratitude to OU on Thursday, as well as excitement for the shared commitment.
"It's been a fantastic first two years, but I'm excited for what's ahead in Norman."
— Lincoln Riley
"I appreciate OU and Coach Stoops taking a chance on me a couple of years ago and the loyalty they've shown to my family," said the 33-year-old Riley. "We are extremely grateful, and I want to display my strong loyalty to this school and program in return. We absolutely love living here. It's a place we relate to, a place we feel very much at home. I love the people I work with at OU and I love the players I coach. It's been a fantastic first two years, but I'm excited for what's ahead in Norman. We're looking forward to being a part of this university and community for a long time."
In 2015, Riley directed an Oklahoma unit that ranked fourth nationally in scoring (43.5 points per game) and seventh in total offense (530.2 yards per game), as the Sooners qualified for the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was named the Sporting News National Player of the Year and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, as Riley won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach.
OU's offense was even more potent in 2016. The Sooners led the nation in passing efficiency rating (their mark of 193.79 set an FBS record) and pass completion percentage (.706), and ranked second in total offense (554.8 ypg), third in scoring offense (43.9 ppg) and third down conversion percentage (.515). Mayfield and receiver Dede Westbrook finished third and fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, respectively. Mayfield's record-breaking single-season passing efficiency rating of 196.4 shattered the old FBS standard of 191.8 and was 29 points higher than the second-best mark by a Power 5 quarterback last year. Westbrook, who was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year after registering a school-record 17 touchdown catches, was OU's first unanimous All-American since 2004 and its first recipient of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's outstanding receiver. Only one team in OU history averaged more yards per play than the Sooners' 7.5 in 2016 (the 1971 squad averaged 7.6).
In Riley's two years in Norman, OU offensive players have amassed 10 first-team All-Big 12 honors and five second-team accolades, and have finished in the top four of Heisman voting three times. If Mayfield finishes in the top four of Heisman voting in 2017, he will be the first player to do so in three consecutive years since Georgia's Herschel Walker did it from 1980 to 1982.