Lincoln Riley is the new coach at Oklahoma, but who exactly is the 33-year-old now-former offensive coordinator tasked with replacing a legendary coach and the best to ever do it in the Big 12?
The first thing you'll see people referencing about Riley is indeed his age because he's quite young for the coach of Oklahoma. Riley will turn 34 during his first season leading the Sooners, which makes him the youngest head coach on the FBS level, as Memphis' Mike Norvell is two years older.
Young but experienced
Just because he's young doesn't mean Riley hasn't been coaching for a long time. In fact, the 2017 season will be his 15th as a college football coach, meaning he's been on the sideline for nearly half his life to this point.
Before getting into coaching, Riley spent a year as a walk-on quarterback at Texas Tech in 2002. During that season, he was tutored by current Washington State coach Mike Leach while serving as a backup to current Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, now coach of his alma mater and the second-youngest program leader in the Big 12.
It was after that one season as a backup, however, that Riley figured his future likely wasn't in playing football but possibly coaching it. So in 2003, he became a student assistant to Leach until graduating from Texas Tech. He then became a graduate assistant at the school for the 2006 season and was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2007.
Riley remained at Texas Tech until Leach was fired, and he followed Ruffin McNeil -- Texas Tech's defensive coordinator and the man who served as interim coach following Leach's dismissal -- to East Carolina. Riley was McNeil's offensive coordinator at East Carolina for five seasons, gaining some attention for putting together fast-moving, high-scoring offenses with the Pirates.
Opportunity not wasted
It was those ECU offenses that caught the eye of Bob Stoops at Oklahoma.
Following an 8-5 campaign in 2014, Stoops realized he needed to do something to get back to reinvigorate his offense and replicate the high-powered attack he ran at Oklahoma when the Sooners won a national title during his second season in 2000.
The first offensive coordinator Stoops had at Oklahoma was Leach, who left following the 1999 season to take over at Texas Tech. So it made sense for Stoops to search under the Leach coaching tree; he eventually snagged Riley, which has proven to be a brilliant move on his part.
Through his first two seasons at Oklahoma, Riley's offenses have averaged 44.5 points per game. The offense has been so prolific that the word "prolific" might not even do it justice. In just his first year with the program, he was named the recipient of the 2015 Broyles Award, handed out annually to the nation's top assistant coach.
Last season, OU not only sent its quarterback Baker Mayfield and leading receiver Dede Westbrook to New York as Heisman Trophy finalists, it also managed to have two 1,000-yard rushers in the same offense with Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine.
The Sooners clearly knew they had something special in Riley and have done plenty make ensure he remained in Norman, Oklahoma, despite other schools calling and offering him head coaching opportunities. Last month, the school signed Riley to a three-year contract extension to keep him at Oklahoma through the 2019 season.
You don't often hear about coordinators getting three-year extensions.
It was presumably Oklahoma's hope to keep Riley around so that when Stoops eventually did decide to move on, he would be there to take over. Whether anybody realized it would be happening this soon, only they know.
Either way, Riley is Oklahoma's new coach, and we'll all learn a lot more about him in the coming years.