The news of Bob Stoops’ retirement and Lincoln Riley’s promotion stunned the college football world. Even Riley’s little brother was caught off guard.
Garrett Riley, Kansas’ first-year quarterbacks coach, told The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Matt Galloway that he was “shocked” when he learned of Lincoln Riley’s ascension from offensive coordinator to head coach at Oklahoma on June 7. He learned the news when it appeared as a push notification on KU offensive line coach Zach Yenser’s Apple Watch.
Given how busy the elder Riley’s day was, Garret Riley, 27, waited to speak to his brother until late that night and even then only had him on the phone for about 10 seconds.
“I was pretty fired up,” Garrett Riley told Galloway. “… [I] just told him, ‘That’s awesome,’ and that’s pretty much it.”
The brothers, both former quarterbacks, coached together at East Carolina from 2013-14 until Lincoln Riley, 33, became the Sooners’ offensive coordinator under Stoops. Garrett Riley stayed with the Pirates for one more season before joining the Jayhawks as an offensive analyst in 2016. With the brothers both in their first year in a new role in the same conference, it could lead to an exciting sibling rivalry.
“I just always tell people maybe I’m a little tougher than he is. That’s really the only thing I’ll say,” Garrett Riley said to Galloway. “He’ll probably say the same thing, but I’ll put it on the record — I’m probably just a little bit tougher.”
The brothers will go head to head in their new positions Nov. 18 when the Sooners travel to Lawrence, Kan. Given Lincoln Riley’s rapid ascent to a prime coaching position, his little brother isn’t putting too much pressure on himself.
“You never know when your shot is going to come up or how things are going to unfold,” Garrett Riley told Galloway, “so you’ve just kind of got to be excited where you are.”