Clemson's Brent Venables Named Oklahoma HC After Lincoln Riley Exit

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 6, 2021

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 27: Clemson Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables looks on during warm ups before their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was hired as the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday, giving the school its successor to Lincoln Riley.

"This is an incredibly special opportunity," Venables said in a statement. "... There's no question we are equipped to compete at the very highest level and attract the best players from across the country. The OU logo has never been stronger."

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports broke the news that the two sides had finalized a contract.

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported a contingent of Sooners officials traveled to Clemson, South Carolina, to hammer out the details of a contract.

Venables has never been a head coach, but he has been considered one of the top assistants in the country for several decades. He served on Oklahoma's coaching staff from 1999-2011, mostly as a defensive coordinator, and helped the team win the national championship in 2000.

The 50-year-old has been Clemson's defensive coordinator since 2012, winning two more titles under Dabo Swinney.

He takes over the Sooners job after Riley surprisingly left for USC following a 10-2 regular season.

Oklahoma had been one of the most consistent programs in the country, winning at least nine games in each of the past seven seasons. The squad won six consecutive Big 12 titles before falling short of the conference title game in 2021.

Riley notably created some of the best offenses in the country during his five years with the program, helping Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray win the Heisman Trophy.

The problem has been the inability to take the next step, losing in the national semifinals in three straight seasons from 2017-19 before missing the College Football Playoff in 2020 and 2021.

Despite many close calls, the last national championship for Oklahoma came in 2000.

Venables will have high expectations to not only keep the Sooners in the national title picture but also help them bring home a trophy.