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Bob Stoops steps down, Lincoln Riley tabbed as Oklahoma HC


In a move sure to send shockwaves throughout the football community, Bob Stoops is stepping down as Oklahoma head coach.

Stoops has been the Sooners' head coach for 18 seasons, leading them to a national championship in 2000 and 10 Big 12 titles, including in each of the past two seasons.

He announced his decision in a release on Wednesday. The Oklahoman first reported the news.

Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will take over as head coach.

Stoops addressed speculation about his health on Wednesday, denying that his decision was based on such considerations.

"I understand there has been some speculation about my health," Stoops stated. "My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I've had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching. I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins. The program is in tremendous shape. We have outstanding players and coaches and are poised to make another run at a Big 12 and national championship. We have new state-of-the-art facilities and a great start on next year's recruiting class. The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition.

"The Bible says, 'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.' I'm grateful for this season of my life, and feel I've fulfilled my purpose here at OU as its head football coach."

Stoops, the winningest coach in Sooners history, is 56 years old and will remain with OU as special assistant to the athletics director.

He had long been mentioned as a potential NFL head-coaching candidate, and drew interest from the Cleveland Browns before the club hired Mike Pettine in 2014.

Since 2000, Oklahoma has produced 85 NFL draft picks, ninth most among all schools. Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray and Gerald McCoy are just a few of the former OU players that went on to star in the NFL after developing in the college ranks under Stoops.

Riley, 33, is considered one of the bright young offensive minds in the game and is now the youngest FBS head coach. He served as an assistant under Stoops for the past two seasons and inherits a club that returns star QB Baker Mayfield, who was a Heisman finalist last season.

"As a young guy, as a coach, when you decide you want to do this, these are things you dream about. I feel like I'm honestly living a dream right now," Riley said at a press conference Wednesday evening. "(It's) just an incredible feeling. I can't tell you just how -- the two words that come to mind right now are just honored and humbled. That's my biggest emotion that I feel right now. It's just an incredible feeling. To get a chance to be a part of this program two years ago was almost mind-blowing. It just was something that was so, so special to me. Two years later to be standing in this position is unbelievable." senior analyst and former Dallas Cowboys player personnel executive Gil Brandt had high praise for Riley on Wednesday, writing that Riley reminds him of legendary Cowboys coach Tom Landry.

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