New Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley is still sharing the fan and media spotlight with outgoing – or perhaps it is better to say, retired – Sooner head coach Bob Stoops. But make no mistake: the new OU lead figure is clearly his own man.
“I think the biggest thing people should know out of the gate is that I don’t have an ego going into this,” Riley said in an essay published this week in The Players’ Tribune, a new media outlet founded by former New York Yankee Derek Jeter that describes itself as a platform providing athletes (and in this case, coaches) a way to connect directly with their fans.
“I know some guys will get a coaching gig and immediately try to differentiate themselves from the previous coach,” he said. “But, honestly, I would be a complete idiot if I did that…I’ve been lucky enough to be molded by a lot of great mentors over the years, and I’ve learned something from each of them.”
Riley is taking over a team that has won 22 of its last 26 games, including 10 consecutive victories, and back-to-back Big 12 championships.
One of his biggest priorities in his new role as head coach of the Sooners will be recruiting. That has become readily evident in the fact that Riley has earned commitments from eight players (six in the class of 2018 and two for 2019).
Riley said he is looking to recruit not just any player, but “the right kind of football player. I want kids whose main goal isn’t to play at OU, but to achieve things far beyond that,” the new Sooner head man said in an essay he wrote for The Players Tribune.
“I’m not here to usher in a new era of OU success,” Riley wrote. “This is already a championship-level program. I’m just lucky enough to have the opportunity to help write the next chapter.”
Riley says he’s ready, and all indications are he is already off and hitting the ground running.