Lincoln Riley ultimately does not care about his college football legacy and has plans to retire in a decade. That is subject to change.
Riley, who first got into coaching as a student assistant at Texas Tech in 2003, got his first head coaching job in 2017. He was just 33 years old at the time.
Now, in his first year at USC, Riley is 40 years old. As of right now, the four-time Big 12 champion has only ten years left in his career. The idea of coaching until he can’t coach anymore is not of interest.
Lincoln Riley wants to retire at 50 years old.
His next 10 years as a coach may also be his last 10 years as a coach.
There are other things in life that are calling Riley to retire early.
I’m on the clock. I don’t know how I’ll feel in a few years, when I became a head coach so young – I became a head coach at 33 – my mindset was always like, ‘If I can make it to 50.’ Because there [are] other things I want to do.— Lincoln Riley, via ‘In Depth’ with Graham Bensinger
He doesn’t exactly know what those things are, but he feels them calling.
I don’t even know exactly what they are. I don’t know that I have the list right now. But I just know there’s other things I want to do and experience.— Lincoln Riley, via ‘In Depth’ with Graham Bensinger
Riley’s comments did not stop there. Regardless of whether he retires at 50 or not, there is no concern about outside perspective. He doesn’t care what other people think of him or how he is remembered when he’s gone.
I may have a different tune when I get to 49, but I don’t care a lot about legacy. I don’t care, in terms of like how many games you won. I’ve never cared about that. Whenever I’m on my deathbed, I don’t think I’m gonna give a damn about how many games I won, or if I have a statue.— Lincoln Riley, via ‘In Depth’ with Graham Bensinger
Legacy is not important to Riley at this stage of life. That isn’t to say that he isn’t invested in his job.
Riley wants to win. Riley expects greatness. A national championship is the goal.
But whenever it is that Lincoln Riley steps away from the game, his legacy is not important.
Here are his full comments: