Big 12

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops abruptly steps down; Lincoln Riley takes over

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops celebrated with Sooners wide receiver Mark Bradley (right) after a 42-3 victory over Colorado in the 2004 Big 12 Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Stoops’ OU teams won four Big 12 title games at Arrowhead.
Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops celebrated with Sooners wide receiver Mark Bradley (right) after a 42-3 victory over Colorado in the 2004 Big 12 Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Stoops’ OU teams won four Big 12 title games at Arrowhead. deulitt@kcstar.com

Some three months before what was expected to be another promising season, Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops is stepping down.

Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will become OU’s next coach. In a release, Stoops said the “timing is perfect” for Riley to become coach and said the move had nothing to do with his health.

“I’ve had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching,” Stoops said. “The program is in tremendous shape. … Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition.”

Stoops, 56, is 190-48 in his 18 years at Oklahoma and is the program’s career coaching victory leader. He came to Norman from Florida, where he had been defensive coordinator for the Gators’ 1996 national championship team.

Before that, Stoops served on Kansas State’s staff. He joined Bill Snyder’s original Wildcats coaching staff in 1989 and served in Manhattan until 1995.

Stoops’ retirement was first reported Wednesday by The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione hired Stoops after the 1998 season. Oklahoma won the 2000 national championship. The Sooners won nine Big 12 outright titles under Stoops, including the 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008 Big 12 Championship Games at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and tied for another.

Oklahoma has won the past two Big 12 titles and likely will be favored to win a third straight in 2017.

Riley, 33, a former Texas Tech quarterback, was hired in 2015 to serve as offensive coordinator.

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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