NFL coach linked to Oklahoma job following Lincoln Riley's reported departure

According to ESPN, Oklahoma has “targeted” Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury for the open Sooners job. Kingsbury has one year left on his contract with Arizona and could be in line for an extension as the Cardinals have been one of the best NFL teams this season.

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Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley gestures to his team on a play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second half at Boone Pickens Stadium Nov 27, 2021 in Stillwater, Okla. 

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley gestures to his team on a play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second half at Boone Pickens Stadium Nov 27, 2021 in Stillwater, Okla.  (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)

Kingsbury was the head coach at Texas Tech and was let go before the 2019 season. He was set to be offensive coordinator at USC before he jumped to the NFL and took the Cardinals job one month into being at USC. He’s been with the Cardinals since the 2019 season and made an impact by selecting Kyler Murray with the No. 1 pick of the 2019 draft. 

The decision has helped the Cardinals to a 9-2 record to start the 2021 season.

Sports Illustrated reported USC was targeting Riley as its next coach, and an announcement would come within the next 24 hours. The Athletic reported the deal was already done.

LINCOLN RILEY TO BOLT OKLAHOMA FOR USC: REPORTS

Head coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners congratulates cornerback Woodi Washington and the defense after a fumble return for a 42-yard touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones in the second quarter at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Nov. 20, 2021 in Norman, Okla.  The Sooners won 28-21.

Head coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners congratulates cornerback Woodi Washington and the defense after a fumble return for a 42-yard touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones in the second quarter at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Nov. 20, 2021 in Norman, Okla.  The Sooners won 28-21. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

USC found a big name to replace Clay Helton, who was let go early in the 2021 season. The Trojans had been linked to Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, but Tomlin later shot down any notion he was planning on leaving the NFL.

Riley had previously been linked to NFL jobs and other college football positions. He shot down a rumor on Saturday that he was interested in the LSU job. He said he was “not going to be the next coach at LSU.” He was right at the time but didn’t divulge any plans about going to Los Angeles.

Riley took over as Oklahoma’s head coach before the 2017 season. He led the Sooners to three College Football Playoff appearances but never managed to win a game in the tournament. His teams saw the emergence of two Heisman Trophy winners – Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Both players were No. 1 draft picks.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field Nov. 21, 2021 in Seattle.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field Nov. 21, 2021 in Seattle. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

He was 55-10 as a head coach and won four Big 12 championships.

Oklahoma lost to Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Sooners’ playoff hopes were dashed earlier this month when the team lost to Baylor.

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