Many sports fans have a tendency to take the pastimes they love a little too seriously, and that’s especially true with plenty of people who live and die with their college football team—a reality that current USC head coach Lincoln Riley apparently knows all too well.
Riley was lucky enough to have Mike Leach as a mentor at Texas Tech in the 2000s before accepting the job as the offensive coordinator at East Carolina University in 2010. He spent five seasons with the Pirates before Bob Stoops hired him to fill the same position at the University of Oklahoma, and he became the head coach of the Sooners after his predecessor retired in 2017.
Riley wasted no time picking up where Stoops left off, as he, Baker Mayfield, and the rest of the squad punched their ticket to the College Football Playoff before losing to Georgia in the semifinals to cap off his inaugural season at the helm.
Riley kept the momentum going after Kyler Murray filled the void created in the wake of Mayfield’s departure, and by the time the 2020 campaign wrapped up, he’d posted a 45-8 record with the help of two Heisman-winning QBs, led the Sooners to four consecutive victories in the Big XII Championship Game, and added two more trips to the CFP to his résumé.
However, things took a wild turn in 2021, as Riley shocked the college football world by announcing he was leaving Oklahoma in the middle of the season to become the head coach at USC.
The manner in which he handled his stunning exit didn’t exactly sit well with plenty of Sooners fans (who were also less than thrilled to see Caleb Williams rejoin Riley after transferring to USC), and based on what he had to say about the fallout, a few of them really crossed the line when it came to dealing with his departure.
Riley recently sat down for an interview with Graham Besinger where he shared what he and his family were subjected to after he announced he was joining the Trojans, saying:
“I had a lot of different people trying to break into the house the days after it happened. 95% of the fans and people out there at Oklahoma are great.
You typically always have that percentage that at times take it too far. Obviously, this was one of those instances.”
Riley also acknowledged he received some suspicious packages and that his nine-year-old daughter was harassed after her phone number somehow leaked, which forced him and his family to reevaluate their original plan:
“We wanted the girls to be able to finish out school because the semester was almost over. And as that stuff transpired we said, ‘No, we gotta get them the hell out of here as fast as we can.’”
I feel like “Please don’t try to break into a coach’s house or target his young child because you’re mad” isn’t something most people need to hear, but I guess there are at least a few miserable souls out there who require a reminder.