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Official: Lincoln Riley is new head coach at USC, leaves OU after 5 seasons

Riley's departure from OU come after the Sooners lost to Oklahoma State for a shot at the Big 12 Championship game.
Credit: AP
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley watches his team warm up before an NCAA college football game against Texas at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Dallas. Oklahoma won 55-48. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

NORMAN, Okla. — Another college football shake-up is in the mix, and this time the Oklahoma Sooners have lost one of their own.

The USC Trojans on Sunday night officially announced OU's Lincoln Riley as their new head football coach.

"We got our guy," the Trojans' football team tweeted with a graphic of Riley in USC gear. "Join us in welcoming Lincoln Riley and his family to Los Angeles!"

"I am truly excited to come to USC and join the Trojan Family as its new head football coach.  USC has an unparalleled football tradition with tremendous resources and facilities, and the administration has made a deep commitment to winning.  I look forward to honoring that successful tradition and building on it," Riley said in a news release by the Trojans.

"I want to thank the administration, coaches and players at Oklahoma for five incredible years as their head coach.  We accomplished some great things there and I will always cherish my time as a Sooner," he added.

The news of Riley's departure after five seasons comes after the Sooners (10-2) lost to Oklahoma State Saturday night for a chance at the Big 12 Championship game.

For the first time since 1998, the Big 12 Championship game will not feature Oklahoma or the Texas Longhorns. Instead, Oklahoma State and Baylor will compete on Saturday, Dec. 4.

According to the Trojans' news release, Riley "will immediately transition to USC." Current interim coach Donte Williams will coach the team's final game of this season on Saturday against California.

Riley's career as head coach of the Sooners included a 55-10 record, four Big 12 Championships and three appearances in the College Football Playoff. This year, OU will have neither.

"Leaving OU was probably the most difficult decision of my life," Riley said in a separate statement released by Oklahoma. "... This was a personal decision solely based on my willingness to go take on a new challenge, and I felt like it was the right opportunity for me and my family to do that."

Longtime Sooners coach Bob Stoops, who retired from the program in 2017, was announced as the interim head coach at Oklahoma.

"[Stoops] is looking forward to the opportunity and we certainly appreciate all he has done and continues to do for our athletics department and football program. Our team and players are in great hands under his leadership," OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione said in a statement.

Riley will take over the Trojans football program after USC fired head coach Clay Helton in September after seven seasons.

In the North Texas area, college football fans are still waiting for the expected announcement of SMU's Sonny Dykes becoming the new head coach at TCU.

The Mustangs played their final game of the season Saturday, which they lost 34-31 to Tulsa. SMU finished 8-4 for the season.

For TCU, the Horned Frogs are hoping to bounce back after a disappointing season in which they finished at 5-7 and saw the departure of their longtime head coach, Gary Patterson.

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