Lincoln Riley's first contract proves Oklahoma has a ton of faith in him
Riley's first head coaching contract is reportedly fully guaranteed
The deal is done, and the ink on Lincoln Riley's first contract as Oklahoma's new coach dried faster than the time it took to actually feel normal typing "Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley."
According to the university's board of regents, Riley has agreed to a five-year deal that will average $3.5 million annually. Riley is slated to make $3.1 million in his first year with a $200,000 raise every Feb. 1 and a $500,000 retention bonus every June 1.
The length of the deal is pretty standard. The terms, however, are eye-opening.
For one, a $3.1 million salary for 2017 automatically puts Riley just outside the top 25 percent for coaching salaries using numbers from USA Today's coaching salary database for 2016. For reference, a number of other first-time coaches -- including Maryland's D.J. Durkin and Missouri's Barry Odom -- are in the $2 million range.
The real kicker, though, is that the deal is fully guaranteed, according to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports. Feldman added that Riley's deal is "believed to be the biggest fully guaranteed contract that a first-time college head coach has ever received." For comparison, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury signed his first contract with Texas Tech at 33 for $10.25 million, 89 percent of which was guaranteed.
Riley is also 33, making him the youngest active coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.in which someone this young has been handed the keys to a program. For Oklahoma to pay Riley this much, and for it to reportedly be fully guaranteed, shows that they have a tremendous amount of faith in him. That or Riley has a tremendous agent. Or both.
Remember, Riley agreed to an extension and raise in May for $1.3 million when he was still the Sooners' offensive coordinator. That was going to make him one of the highest-paid assistants in college football anyway.
The fact that Oklahoma did not hesitate to promote Riley in the wake of the unorthodox timing of Bob Stoops' retirement told us that they felt confident Riley was the long-term vision of the program. The terms of his contract have only reaffirmed that notion. Riley, who would have entered his 15th season as an assistant this year, was ready to be a head coach. Oklahoma made sure he made that jump in house.
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