Bob Stoops’ retirement has meant more responsibility for not only new Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, but also Riley’s wife, Caitlin.
After all, as Eric Bailey of the Tulsa World writes in a story posted Sunday afternoon, she’s adopted an awful lot of kids.
Caitlin and Lincoln began dating in high school and have been married for 10 years. Lincoln began coaching as a student assistant at Texas Tech before becoming offensive coordinator at East Carolina then taking the same position at Oklahoma. When Stoops stepped down June 7, Lincoln was named his successor after two seasons with the Sooners. It was a whirlwind for the whole family, which also includes daughters Sloan and Stella.
“[Caitlin is] definitely the rock of our family,” Lincoln told Bailey. “So much has been put on her. She’s kind of been there with me from the start.”
Caitlin, of course, now has more than her two daughters to worry about. Now she has all of the Sooners players, as well, with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield telling Bailey that Caitlin is “the mom of the team.” The family will have players over for dinner, and Caitlin said the relationships she has built with them are “my favorite part.”
“We’ve always felt it was always important for players to get to know us on a personal level,” she said. “They know Lincoln as a father and a husband and me as a mom and a wife, not just a coach’s wife.”
Caitlin hasn’t always had good experiences in Norman, Okla., though. The first time she visited was when Lincoln was on the Texas Tech staff and the Red Raiders visited in 2008. In a top-5 matchup, the Sooners stomped Texas Tech 65-21 in what is most notably known for the playing of “Jump Around” at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. As a visitor, Caitlin was overwhelmed by the environment — now she’s thankful to call that environment home.
“Now, on this side, I love it,” she told Bailey. “It’s much more fun to be with the home team. But that was my first taste of the passion of the Oklahoma fan. I like this side much better.”
She’ll get to experience it a new way Sept. 2, when the Sooners host Texas-El Paso in Lincoln’s first game as Oklahoma’s head coach.
“I can’t wait,” she told Bailey.