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Sport: Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Joe Castiglione surprised by Lincoln Riley's USC departure: 'No mention of unrest'

Cincinnati HC Luke Fickell reportedly not interested in USC job

  Cincinnati HC Luke Fickell reportedly not interested in USC job Many have viewed Fickell as a natural candidate for USC. While Cincinnati is having an outstanding season and should receive College Football Playoff consideration, there is also the athletic director connection. USC AD Mike Bohn was the AD at Cincinnati when Fickell was hired as head coach there in 2017. USC boosters might be hoping Bohn can convince Fickell to take the job, but it doesn’t sound likely.Fickell is currently focused on stating the case for Cincinnati to be considered one of the four-best teams in the country.

Lincoln Riley's decision to leave Oklahoma for USC after five seasons sent shockwaves through the college football world when it was announced Sunday. Riley was 55-10 with four Big 12 titles and four top-10 finishes during his time in Norman.

Sooner fans were less than pleased by Riley's decision, and the program itself lost several key commitments while quarterback Spencer Rattler entered the transfer portal. To make matters worse, Oklahoma president Joe Harroz confirmed in a Monday news conference that the university and Riley had spent the last several weeks working on an extension in preparation of the school's move to the SEC.

Bob Stoops not interested in Florida head-coaching job

  Bob Stoops not interested in Florida head-coaching job Stoops firmly denied having any interest in the Florida job, and he made it sound like he doesn’t particularly want any other job right now. Bob Stoops on the vacant Florida job: "I love what I'm doing with TV…I enjoy watching my son play, and the Sooners…I'm not looking to get in to that [job]." Said Florida is one of the best jobs out there, though, and has great [email protected] @sportsanimal — Matt Ravis (@mattravis) November 24, 2021 “I love what I’m doing with TV. … I enjoy watching my son play, and the Sooners,” Stoops said.

He, as well as athletic director Joe Castiglione, also said Riley's move had little to do with Oklahoma's trajectory toward the SEC.

MORE: Lincoln Riley's buyout, explained

"There wasn't any mention of any unrest. In fact, we were talking about all the positives of the job and where we are now and what we were planning to do going forward," Castiglione said. "But when he talked to president Harroz and I, he said that he was intrigued by a different kind of opportunity. He was absolutely happy with everything that we had."

Despite this, all parties involved admitted they were surprised by Riley's decision. Harroz admitted they would've liked "more notice," and Castiglione said things ramped up in earnest Sunday morning before Riley made his decision later that afternoon.

Report: Bob Stoops Will Coach Oklahoma in Bowl Game After Lincoln Riley Departure

  Report: Bob Stoops Will Coach Oklahoma in Bowl Game After Lincoln Riley Departure Stoops is reportedly filling in for Riley, who is leaving the program for USC. In a strange turn of events, Bob Stoops is returning to the sidelines for Oklahoma and will coach the team in its bowl game, according to The Athletic. The news comes after it was reported that Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is leaving the program to become USC's new head coach. Stoops, who has remained as a part-time special assistant with the Sooners since retiring in 2017, was in the room when Riley informed the team he was leaving, per The Athletic.

"I have absolutely no reason to believe based on the conversations I had, with (Riley's camp) ongoing, that there were any conversations (with USC) prior to the time he informed us," Castiglione said.

Riley confirmed as much, and laid out a similar timeline following his team's 37-33 loss to Oklahoma State in Bedlam, which knocked the Sooners out of Big 12 title contention for the first time of his Oklahoma tenure.

"I got the information from USC that there was some real interest," Riley said in his opening news conference at USC. "It came together quickly. And to be honest in this day and age in college football it kind of has to. That's just the way of the world right now."

MORE: Why did Lincoln Riley leave Oklahoma?

"I would say the impact of meeting with our university leadership was pretty immediate to me," Riley said. "We're obviously aware of this program, aware of what it's done, what it can be."

How Lincoln Riley's Unprecedented Move Shakes the Coaching Carousel

  How Lincoln Riley's Unprecedented Move Shakes the Coaching Carousel Riley's move is landscape-altering amid a busy coaching carousel cycle. Who is left to fill the openings at LSU and Oklahoma? View the original article to see embedded media.OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — An hour north of here, late last night in a side room of Oklahoma State’s visiting locker room, after his team lost Bedlam 37–33, Lincoln Riley made clear that his next destination was not in the south.“I’m not going to be the next head coach at LSU,” he said, shooting down unsubstantiated reports linking him to the Tigers’ opening.Turns out, he’s going West.

Castiglione tabbed soon-to-be College Football Hall of Fame coach — and the former leader of the Sooners program — Bob Stoops to serve as the team's interim coach for the bowl game.

"Am I disappointed? Sure. The rest of it's between Lincoln and I personally, as it should be," Stoops said. "My initial reaction is what's best for the program immediately, and recruiting. And the players as well. I should say first and foremost, the players on our team right now, reassuring them that they are OU football sticking together."

Stoops said the current crop of assistants are working to ensure the current players' well being is top priority.

BENDER: Riley will reignite trend of elite QBs choosing USC

"They're all right off the bat still working, putting in work and contacting our current players, making sure everything's OK with them," Stoops said.

Castiglione, Oklahoma's athletic director since 1998, was noncommittal when discussing the Sooners' hiring process, and generic in terms of what he's looking for in the program's next coach. He did concede, though, that he has a list of potential candidates, and has for some time.

Pair of Former Oklahoma Stars Want Brent Venables as Next Sooners Coach

  Pair of Former Oklahoma Stars Want Brent Venables as Next Sooners Coach Venables was the long time defensive coordinator under Bob Stoops. With Lincoln Riley off to USC, Oklahoma becomes the newest marquee job opening in a crazy coaching carousel. One name that has some former Sooners buzzing: former Oklahoma and current Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.Venables has resisted jumping into a head coaching position. The opportunity in Norman could be a good one, and two former Oklahoma stars he coached late in his tenure want to see him land the job.

"It's going to be stealthy, as usual," he said. "We know the importance of time and timing and what we need to do with everything going on in this very different and new world.

"I absolutely have a list. I didn't necessarily know when I'd have to activate it — I thought it might be well down the road but that being said, that's why you have a list," he said.

He didn't elaborate on who is or isn't on the list, if he would opt for an offensive mind like Riley or a defensive mind like Stoops, or if the next coach would be someone currently or formerly on staff (as all but one former Sooners coach since 1966 has been_.

MORE: Oklahoma's 7 best coaching candidates to replace Lincoln Riley, from Bob Stoops to Josh Heupel

The only name for certain not on the list is Stoops himself, whose current tenure will start and end with the bowl game. Harroz said they already tried to get Stoops to come back full time.

With early signing day fast approaching, changes to transfer rules and an overall evolving landscape, Castiglione understands the need to be both expedient and responsible.

"I don't ever put a specific timetable. But based on the conversations I've had with our players yesterday, some today, we're all engaged in talking to our prior commitments and recruits' families," Castiglione said. "We understand the dynamics of a world that we haven't really seen much of. So again, we're very proactive about all of that, and we're moving as quickly as possible."

Oklahoma Fans Need to Get Over Lincoln Riley .
Oklahoma fans are hating on Lincoln Riley. They need to move on.Things have gotten downright nuts on Oklahoma message boards this week, with wild rumors and accusations flying at Riley and the assistant coaches he's bringing with him. Wild conspiracy theories about an affair and a lawsuit that would force USC to fire him ran rampant -- these kinds of rumors always run wild when a coach leaves a school. But for the most part there has just been a lot of petty vitriol aimed at a coach who opted to take a fantastic opportunity.

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