The coaching carousel continues for the University of Oklahoma. When did Lincoln Riley know he was leaving?

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – All eyes are on Norman as University of Oklahoma fans await the decision on the next head coach for the football program.

It’s been a whirlwind over the past 72 to 96 hours with the sudden departure of Lincoln Riley and everything that has happened with rookies shutting down and current players jumping into the transfer portal.

Lincoln Riley, offensive coordinator of the Oklahoma Sooners, hugs Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield 6 after a game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on December 3, 2016 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 38-20 to become the Big XII champion. (Photo by Brett Deering / Getty Images)

Some are still expressing optimism about the future when they put their faith in OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione to make the right hires and stabilize the situation. Others are still trying to figure out why it all went downhill.

“It was a crippling blow to the show,” said Al Eschbach, a sports radio operator in Oklahoma.

“Just relax,” says Gabe Ikard, a former OU center. “The sky is not falling.”

It was an unprecedented time for the college football program. Now, former head coach Lincoln Riley has departed for the University of Southern California, making him one of only three coaches in program history to leave the program for another job without being fired or resigned. prior to.

“There is too much pressure on the organizational unit to not achieve a single, not a double, not a triple, one hire of workers,” Eschbach said.

“Oklahoma has to move quickly,” says Ikard. “They need to stabilize things.”

The two remaining coaches left in the 1940s and 1970s. This incident happened about 72 hours ago on Sunday afternoon. Riley was officially announced as USC’s head coach during a press conference Monday afternoon. He choked up when talking about his time at the University of Oklahoma.

“The hardest decision of my life was to come here,” Riley said from the podium before pausing to crouch. “Those people are huge to me.”

NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 20: Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley runs with winger Spencer Rattler #7 before the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Norman , Oklahoma. The Sooners won 28-21. (Photo by Brian Bahr / Getty Images)

Riley claims he became aware of USC’s interest either Saturday night or early Sunday morning after Bedlam’s loss, slept on it, and made the decision. He said it all came together quickly. KFOR spoke with sports agent Kelli Masters on Tuesday. She was unable to speak in front of the camera due to a business trip, but she did answer our questions about Riley’s statement. She said it was possible, but unlikely, that Riley first spoke to USC on Bedlam night. She said that “complex transactions like this don’t come together overnight.” She also said “it is likely that his agent has handled all communication and negotiations over the past weeks and months.”

“Lincoln, do you think we are all such idiots?” Eschbach said. “Come on, buddy.”

Eschbach spoke more of the many rookies dropping from the 2022 and 2023 classes, with current players Spencer Rattler and Jadon Haselwood jumping into the transfer portal.

“What does this have to do with the Oklahoma football program going forward,” Eschbach said.

“The way I see it, if a coach doesn’t want to be here, okay, see you,” Ikard said.

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Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

Ikard said he was initially shocked and upset by the action but later switched to a “next man” mentality. He said he is putting his trust in Castiglione to recruit the right and stabilize the program he once represented on the field.

“Whoever they announce as the next head coach, we have to regroup that man,” Ikard said. “I just hope he gets him quickly. Because time is of the essence right now. ”

Castiglione said during Monday’s press conference that it understands the magnitude of the situation and is moving quickly. Ikard says he would be surprised if a coach wasn’t hired over the weekend. The coaching carousel continues for the University of Oklahoma. When did Lincoln Riley know he was leaving?

Dais Johnston

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