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Oklahoma Now Targeting NFL Coach After Lincoln Riley's Departure

Photo: Kevork Djansezian

The Oklahoma Sooners are reportedly targeting Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury amid Lincoln Riley's reported decision to leave OU for the coaching vacancy at the University of Southern California on Sunday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Kingsbury is "one of the potential replacements" for Riley, according to league sources, and notes that the 42-year-old "has one year remaining on his contract after this season."

Kingsbury is in his third season with the Cardinals, who are currently 9-2 and in first place in the NFC West Division standings.

The former Texas Tech quarterback had previously coached at his alma mater for six seasons (2013-18) and has a 35-40 (19-35 Big 12) career record as a collegiate head coach.

On Sunday, the Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported Riley had accepted the head coaching vacancy at USC.

"Lincoln Riley is leaving OU to become the new head coach at USC, per sources," Feldman tweeted. "It is happening. HUGE get for the Trojans and the Pac-12."

Riley is one of the biggest names in college football having led Oklahoma to four consecutive Big 12 championships during his first four seasons as the Sooners' head coach (2017-21) and three College Football Playoff appearances, as well as a 10-2 (7-2 Big 12) record in 2021.

The 38-year-old had previously served as the Sooners' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015 and 2016 under former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, taking over as head coach after Stoops' retirement in 2017.

Stoops -- who had previously come out of retirement to coach the XFL's Dallas Renegades in 2020 -- will reportedly serve as Oklahoma's interim coach for its upcoming bowl game, Sports Illustrated reports.

The 61-year-old led Oklahoma to a national championship during his second season in Norman (2000), 10 Big 12 championships and eight Big 12 South Division titles, and 190 total wins, the most in program history.

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