Former Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley Says Family Was In Danger Following Departure

Lincoln Riley said: "Yeah it was my family's safety. I didn't care about the house, I didn't care about anything else just their safety."

Wednesday, September 13th 2023, 10:31 pm

By: News 9, Bella Roddy

Former University of Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley stated that his family was put in danger following his exit in 2021.

Lincoln Riley was interviewed by Graham Bensinger in a recent Youtube special titled, "Lincoln Riley: Sooner fans threatened my family’s safety."

Riley received severe backlash on social media from OU fans, but Riley stated that wasn’t the worst part.

"I always feel like the truth will come to light. And I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes, but I know who I am too, and that of all the stuff that happened that got to me the least. You just kind of grow thick skin," he said.

When it came to the decision on which players to bring along to USC, Riley claimed it wasn’t an easy choice.

"As far as with the players and players that come with you it's a difficult decision," said Riley. "One of the things I told the players when I stood up there is, 'I think every one of you should stay here and do it.' And we, actually, behind the scenes…people probably wouldn't believe it now…we helped keep a lot of players there that are still there.”

Riley claimed that the decision was made even more difficult, because of how close he had gotten to players and their families. 

And when faced with hate comments and backlash, Riley claimed he regrets getting angry back at the fans.

“I responded. I shot back a few times, and I I shouldn't have [...] I think just staying away from some of the things that I said or some of the topics that I got into because I was emotional and angry about some of the things that were happening," said Riley. "There were better ways to handle it than me firing back something in the media or in an interview that added to it.”

Riley claimed that he anticipated a bad response, despite what others said. The move to USC was a quick decision, “I had eight hours [...] I would have wanted to have longer, yeah [...] But there's more people I would have liked to have talked to in person and have more time and have more time to think about it. It wouldn't have changed my decision but it would have, you know, probably helped the exit.”

After the news broke of Riley’s departure, the upset fans took to his house.

"I have multiple…a lot of different people trying to break into the house," he said.

Riley claimed that "95 percent" of OU fans are great people, but that there is always that small percentage of people who take things too far. 

Riley claimed his main concern was that of his family’s safety.

"Yeah it was my family's safety. I didn't care about the house, I didn't care about anything else just their safety," said Riley.

Riley’s daughters wanted to finish out their current semesters in school there, but Riley said he needed to "get them the hell out of here as fast as [they could]."

Despite the many difficulties leaving the Sooners presented, Riley claimed the hardest part was losing the friendships of those whom he previously trusted. 

Riley claimed that he couldn’t go out in public when he worked at OU because being a coach at a school where that university is the biggest deal makes being a coach, a celebrity. But now, at USC, he feels more comfortable not being recognized and can even go out to dinner with his family without worry.

Riley stated that the move to California was a good decision, and that seeing his kids comfortable in their new city means the most.

"I think they see me more relaxed. I think they're very happy. I think they don't feel like they have to live different than their friends, and that's everything to me," said Riley.


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