Legendary Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be interim coach after Lincoln Riley's USC departure

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Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be back on the sideline for Oklahoma's bowl game.

Oklahoma announced Sunday evening that Stoops will be the team's interim coach for the Sooners' bowl now that Lincoln Riley is officially the coach at USC.

Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel broke the news Sunday afternoon that Riley was heading to Southern Cal. Oklahoma lost to Oklahoma State on Saturday night to miss out on the Big 12 title game and assuredly a spot in the College Football Playoff. After the game Saturday night, Riley said that he would not be the next coach at LSU after he had been mentioned as a possible candidate there. 

Riley replaced Stoops at Oklahoma when Stoops surprisingly stepped down ahead of the 2017 season. Riley was OU's offensive coordinator under Stoops.

“First and foremost, I’m a program guy and whatever I can do to help OU and to support the players, of course I’m glad to do it," Stoops said in a statement. "I’ll do everything I can to help them finish the season in a strong and successful way and I look forward to that.”

"Lincoln did a great job in his five years as head coach here and I appreciate all he did for this program. I’ll always appreciate the close friendship we’ve had and will continue to have.”

Stoops, 61, was a head coach for 18 seasons at Oklahoma after the school hired him from Florida's coaching staff after the 1998 season. Oklahoma went 13-0 and won the national title in Stoops’ second season in Norman in 2000 and had 14 seasons of 10 wins or more during his tenure.

Oklahoma finished 11-2 in each of Stoops’ final two seasons with the team. The Sooners finished in the top five of the AP poll in seven seasons under Stoops and reached No. 1 at various points in five different seasons.

Stoops has spent the 2021 college football season doing television work for Fox. He replaced Urban Meyer as the network's former coach analyst when Meyer left to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars. He joined Fox after a brief stint coaching in the revived XFL in 2020 — his first coaching gig after leaving Oklahoma. Stoops was the league's first coaching hire when he was announced in 2019.

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