Lincoln Riley has message for Oklahoma fans sore about his move
Things have gotten so sour that Senator Bill Coleman of Ponca City even proposed a bill this week that would rename a desolate section of State Highway 325 to the “Lincoln Riley Highway.”
“I felt the State of Oklahoma needed an appropriate goodbye to this former head coach whose sudden departure left many in shock, including a team of young, dedicated college players,” Coleman said in a news release. “I found the tiniest section of our most desolate of highways to pay tribute to Coach Riley’s exit from Oklahoma football and the state. This is only fitting as this is the last three inches one sees before leaving our great state heading west.”
Riley has heard it all and he’s seen it all. It hasn’t stopped him from poaching recruits from Oklahoma, but he remains hopeful that someday bygones will be bygones.
“I hope time will heal that, I really do,” Riley said during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. “I understand they’re disappointed that we left. [There’s] a lot of love for that place. Me and my family poured our heart and soul into that place for seven years. Loved every second of it. Had a tremendous run of championships, success on and off the field. We’ve got nothing but love.
“These things, when you leave a university, they either fire you or you leave on your own accord and neither one of them are easy and we understand it. Our love for that place will never go away. We certainly hope as time goes on, the time over there will be remembered fondly and everybody will remember all the great success we had together.”
Riley’s plea will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears. At least for now.
Interim Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has said he didn’t take Riley’s exit personally and fans shouldn’t, either. That, of course, is easier said than done despite Riley going 55-10 over five seasons with the Sooners, winning four Big 12 championships and advancing to the College Football Playoffs three times.
They say time heals all wounds, but Riley bailing may take a few extra years to get over for some.
Photo: Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports