Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley not only family member ahead of his time
Candidates for football head coaching vacancies always come to interviews prepared to answer the inevitable question regarding what assistant coaches they hope to have on their staffs.
Two names for offensive coordinator that David Beaty mentioned during his interview for the Kansas job were Doug Meacham and Lincoln Riley.
Initially, Beaty didn’t get either of them. He hired Rob Likens, who handled the job for a year and then demoted him and took over the reins of the offense himself. Beaty hired Riley’s younger brother, Garrett Riley, in advance of the 2016 season to help him behind the scenes as an offensive analyst.
Beaty took another run at Meacham this past offseason, landed him, turned the offense over to him and promoted Garrett Riley to quarterbacks coach, one of Beaty’s nine full-time assistant positions. The younger Riley, 27, is on the young side for a Big 12 assistant coach. Then again, Lincoln Riley is on the young side, 33, for head coach of a perennial powerhouse, Oklahoma.
Getting jobs before their time runs in the Riley family, a sure sign of brains made for learning and teaching football.
“I couldn’t hire (Lincoln), so I hired his brother,” Beaty said at the time he promoted Garrett. At the time, Beaty also referred to Lincoln Riley as a “really, really close, dear friend of mine.” Except, of course, one day a year. That day arrives Nov. 18 this coming season when the Riley brothers will be on opposite sidelines at Memorial Stadium.
Garrett Riley has a $250,000 salary this season and came to KU from East Carolina, where he worked under Lincoln for two seasons and spent another year there. Garrett started his college career as a quarterback learning the Air Raid offense from Mike Leach, then head coach and quarterbacks coach at Texas Tech. Garrett then transferred to Stephen F. Austin but ultimately received his degree from Texas Tech.
He started his coaching career as a high school assistant in 2011, then was running backs coach at Augustana College in 2012, then took the job at East Carolina.
Given that every time Okahoma — which ranked 66th in the nation in defense and third in offense — gave up a touchdown some Sooners fans groused about Bob Stoops having his brother as defensive coordinator, Beaty shouldn't have any cause for concern regarding Lincoln Riley raiding his coaching staff to bring his brother on board.
At least on paper, Beaty's third coaching staff shapes up as his strongest in terms of recruiting, developing and scheming.