OU’s Riley gets a hefty raise

The University of Oklahoma is pleased with assistant football coach Lincoln Riley and they have increased his salary to show appreciation.

OU Board of Regents approved a three-year contract extension for Riley, OU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, that will pay him $1.3 million a year, making him one of the highest paid assistants in the nation.

Riley’s base pay was increased $15,000 to $280,000 annually, his additional income raised $335,000 to $920,000 per year and his annual stay benefit doubled to $100,000. The stay benefit is a bonus Riley receives May 1 of each year if he remains employed. Riley’s contract now runs through the 2019 season and is the longest ever for an OU football assistant coach.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Riley, whose two years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach have coincided with some of the best offensive production in school history, said a new contract was a priority. Some competing coaches reportedly have been saying that Riley has been so successful that he wouldn’t stay long at OU but would be offered a head coaching position.

“This has been in the works for a few months,” said Stoops, who has won 10 Big 12 Championships, including the last two. “Lincoln’s done a phenomenal job in his two years here and we’re excited for him and his family. They’re great people and have fully immersed themselves into the Oklahoma community. He’s fully committed to OU and what we’re doing as a university and football program, and all of us are looking forward to continuing to work together to develop young men on and off the field, and bring more championships to Norman.” Riley was grateful.

“I appreciate OU and Coach Stoops taking a chance on me a couple of years ago and the loyalty they’ve shown to my family,” said the 33-year-old Riley. “We are extremely grateful, and I want to display my strong loyalty to this school and program in return. We absolutely love living here. It’s a place we relate to, a place we feel very much at home. I love the people I work with at OU and I love the players I coach. It’s been a fantastic first two years, but I’m excited for what’s ahead in Norman. We’re looking forward to being a part of this university and community for a long time.”

In 2015, Riley directed an Oklahoma offense that ranked fourth nationally in scoring (43.5 points per game) and seventh in total offense (530.2 yards per game), as the Sooners qualified for the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was named the Sporting News National Player of the Year and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, as Riley won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.

OU’s offense was even more potent in 2016. The Sooners led the nation in passing efficiency rating (their mark of 193.79 set an FBS record) and pass completion percentage (.706), and ranked second in total offense (554.8 ypg), third in scoring offense (43.9 ppg) and third down conversion percentage (.515). Mayfield and receiver Dede Westbrook finished third and fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, respectively. Mayfield’s record-breaking single-season passing efficiency rating of 196.4 shattered the old FBS standard of 191.8 and was 29 points higher than the second-best mark by a Power 5 quarterback last year. Westbrook, who was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year after registering a school-record 17 touchdown catches, was OU’s first unanimous All-American since 2004 and its first recipient of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s outstanding receiver. Only one team in OU history averaged more yards per play than the Sooners’ 7.5 in 2016 (the 1971 squad averaged 7.6).

In Riley’s two years in Norman, OU offensive players have amassed 10 first-team All-Big 12 honors and five second-team accolades, and have finished in the top four of Heisman voting three times.