The head coach of the University of Oklahoma’s football team is stepping down.
Bob Stoops will retire after 18 years of leading the team, and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will take the helm of the Sooners.
Stoops, 56, led the Sooners to the 2000 national championship. He has the most wins in Oklahoma's history, and has won 10 Big 21 Conference titles. He won more games during his first 18 years as a head coach than any other coach has in the game's history, according to a press release from the university's athletic department.
At a press conference at the Gaylord Family Memorial Oklahoma Stadium yesterday, Stoops said the timing was right to hand over the reins to Riley.
"Really in the last week-and-a-half, I knwe it was the right thing to do for me, personally. And the right thing to do moving forward for the program and the for the university," he said.
In a written statement released earlier in the day, Stoops said he is not retiring due to health concerns. He said he believes the football program is in excellent shape, and is confident in Riley's abilities.
"The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition," Stoops said. At age 33, Riley will be one of the youngest college football coaches in the country.
University of Oklahoma president David Boren said he is sad that Stoops is stepping down, and lauded the coach for his lasting contributions to the school's football program.
"He has led to its restoration as one of the top programs in the nation. His success has helped provide the momentum for major new facilities like the improvements and expansion of the football stadium. Because of his unquestioned personal integrity and high standards, he is one of the most admired college football coaches in America," Boren said in a press release.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin also praised Stoops for his track record and his character. "I appreciate how he always represented our state well both on and off the field. He always offered a hand when needed, such as during times of disaster," she said in a press release.
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