NORMAN, Okla. — It’s been a little more than a year since Lincoln Riley became Oklahoma’s 22nd football coach. Signs of acrimony are nonexistent. Riley won a Big 12 Conference title in his first season, quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy and Oklahoma returned to the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons.
Riley’s bosses are ready to show their approval with the current state of the program. The entire football coaching staff, along with some members of the recruiting department, are set to receive raises during the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents meeting on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
That includes Riley, who agreed to a five-year deal that pays him an average of $3.5 million per season. It was a handsome contract for a 33-year-old first-time head coach.
There were no signs Riley was itching for a new deal right now. His name wasn’t linked to any other coaching jobs, college or NFL, during the winter. But the Sooners are ready to up his contract to underscore his status as a coach with a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth.
Riley downplayed the significance to himself when asked about the likely salary bump at the OU Caravan in Tulsa in earlier this month. Making sure the coaching staff is taken care of was his main objective.
“It’s important. We all get compensated a lot better than any of us ever dreamed about when we decided to start coaching college football. That isn’t why we do it,” Riley said. “With all the good that comes along with it, there’s a different kind of risk for you and your families and strain. You’re going to be compensated on the other end of it. That’s how the world works. Risk — the more high-profile these jobs are the more there is.
“With all that being said, when you do a good job and you win championships and you do it the right way like our guys have, I think your group deserves to be compensated that way. And I’ll say throughout my time here, Oklahoma — fair isn’t even the right word — they’ve been generous, proactive and it doesn’t go unnoticed by anyone on our staff.”
The Oklahoma assistants will receive raises
A safe assumption is Riley will see his annual salary rise to the $4 million-per-year range. Oklahoma lets the coaching market drive many of those salary decisions. That figure would put Riley in the top 20 of college football coaches, according to the USA Today football coaches salary database.
As far as the rest of the staff goes, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione has made it almost customary for football assistant coaches to receive a 12-percent raise after the Sooners win a conference championship.
That is the expected bump all members of the staff — excluding tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Shane Beamer, who was hired in January — are expected to receive Tuesday.
There are also several support staff members who are expected to receive raises on Tuesday. Recruiting director Annie Hanson is set to receive a $45,000 a year raise to $115,000 for next year.
Beefing up the recruiting operation has been a goal of Riley’s since he was given the program’s reins last year. He hinted there could be some more hires in that department this summer.
“You’re trying to show off the OU brand, the same messages through so many different areas whether it’s how you treat them on official visits, or what game days are like or whatever junior days like or just to see the one official visit. They’ve all got to fall kind of within the same scope,” Riley said. “You’ve got to have somebody with vision to do that and then you’ve got to have people in different areas to have the expertise to execute that so we’ve brung in some new people that have done a tremendous job with it and we’ve found some talented people. I think we’re heading in the right direction. I think we’re really cutting edge in a lot of areas right now. I think the results have spoken for themselves so far.”