Oklahoma mailbag: Will Sooners’ agenda include Lincoln Riley pay raise?
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Robyn Morris asks, do you see Oklahoma giving Lincoln Riley a raise after his first season?
This one is simple: yes.
The initial terms of Riley’s contract were finalized prior to the 2017 season. It’s a five-year deal worth $17.5 million, excluding bonuses.
The deal is shorter than the ones former coach Bob Stoops had. The Sooners never let his contracts get under five seasons. Stoops tended to get a new seven-year deal every two years. Typically, those were announced at the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents meeting each June.
Riley has four seasons left on his initial contract. After the Sooners won a third straight Big 12 Conference title, which netted Riley a $75,000 bonus, and reached the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons, which kicked in another $75,000 for Riley, it’s likely his contract will change.
What Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione tends to do is base contracts on market factors. A reasonable expectation is that Riley will move into the top 20 of college football’s highest-paid coaches. According to the USA Today coaches salary database, that would mean a raise to around $4.5 million per season.
Another salary database compiled by Coaches’ Hot Seat.com has Riley tied for 25th nationally among coaches salaries. That places him third in the Big 12 behind TCU’s Gary Patterson and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.
Oklahoma usually waits until June to announce coaches salaries because most assistant coach contracts run from July 1-June 30. However, the one thing that will be interesting is to see if the timing changes under new school president James Gallogly. His first day on the job will be July 1.
But all signs point toward Riley receiving a new contract after his stellar first season. The financial terms are the only unanswered questions.