After losing the Bedlam rivalry matchup against Oklahoma State for the first time since taking over as head coach in 2017, Lincoln Riley sat in front of the media and told them that he was not taking his talents to LSU.
“Let me stop you right there,” Riley told members of Oklahoma’s press corps. “I’m not going to be the next head coach at LSU.”
He was not lying, because he was headed towards the West Coast. Nevertheless, he shocked the sport by taking his talents to USC and by doing so, he became the first Oklahoma coach to leave for another college job since Jim Tatum left the Sooners after the 1946 season.
Riley has become public enemy No. 1 in Norman, Oklahoma since his sudden departure. It has gotten so bad that an Amish Cheese House is taking shots at him.
“Our cheese will not let you down like Lincoln Riley”
Riley leaving created a dominoe effect where multiple players have decommitted from coming to the program after his departure.
Five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson, the No. 2 football player in the country quickly decommitted. Brandon Inniss, the No. 2 wide receiver in the 2023 class, also decommitted.
USC announced Sunday that he will take over as its head coach.
“Leaving OU was probably the most difficult decision of my life,” Riley said in a statement. “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.”
The 38-year-old Riley compiled a 55-10 record in five seasons at Oklahoma. Under him, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray won Heisman Trophies and were No. 1 overall picks in the NFL draft.