TULSA, Okla. — Lincoln Riley's unexpected departure left many OU fans disappointed and concerned about the future of the program.
Monday, campus leaders spoke to OU athletes, parents, students, and fans about their plans moving forward. Riley's new gig, a shocking bombshell for thousands of OU fans like Nick House.
“He kind of let down Oklahoma, the school, the fans, the players, by not telling the truth and us losing all the recruits that were supposed to be coming in,” House said.
Since Riley's departure, at least half a dozen prospective OU Athletes announced they are de-committing from the program. OU fans were not the only ones shocked. Campus leaders said they also didn't see this coming.
“We’re here today, surprised by yesterday, but with unlimited excitement for tomorrow,” OU President, Joeseph Harroz Jr. said.
In a press conference Monday, President Harroz, thanked Lincoln Riley for his five-year dedication to OU's football program as head coach and two years Assistant Coach. He clarified Riley's decision to leave the Oklahoma Sooners for USC Trojans was a personal one and had nothing to do with whether OU would meet his contract needs for this conference and next.
“As we stand here and we look forward for the next chapter for the University of Oklahoma football program, we do it with a remarkable team both on the field that one going into the bowl game that is upcoming and also with the great team here are we lean forward,” Harroz said.
So, what's next for OU's football program? For now, Bob Stoops is stepping in as interim head coach.
“Give it a little bit of time and you’re going to see this is just a little bump in the road. There’s not one guy, one person, in the history of this program that’s bigger than the program… Coach Switzer, myself, or Lincoln Riley. What I told the players is that they are the program. Players throughout these last decades, they are OU football, not us as a coach,” Stoops, OU Interim Head Coach said.
Some OU fans still worry about the uncertainty of the future of the program.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the team going forward and I don’t know where we’re going to go. I know that Stoops is stepping in for at least one game, but who knows what’s going to happen after that and now we’ve got all the recruits that are leaving, and Spencer Rattler is tiring to transfer so who knows what’s going to happen,” OU fan, Amanda Ko said.
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