As Lincoln Riley takes his talents to Southern California, Kliff Kingsbury could be taking his to Norman, Oklahoma. Or will he?
The Arizona Cardinals head coach is reportedly on Oklahoma’s wishlist for its next head coach after Riley accepted the head coaching position at USC on Sunday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. With one year left on his current deal, Kingsbury sidestepped questions about the Oklahoma head coaching vacancy on Monday.
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“I don’t get into those things,” Kingsbury said. “My sole focus the last couple of weeks has been the Chicago Bears, and after watching them on Thanksgiving, it needs to be … We’re in season, we’re 9-2, just not a topic I wanna touch on right now.”
Kingsbury’s refusal to give a straight answer is not uncommon. Riley did it on Saturday and was USC’s on Sunday. The same can be said for many head coaches in recent years.
Kingsbury, 42, was named the head coach of the Cardinals before the 2019 season. He’s led them to a 22-20-1 record, but they are 9-2 this season, currently the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Before moving to the NFL, Kingsbury served as the Texas Tech head coach from 2013-2018. After going 8-5 in his first season with the Red Raiders, Kingbury had four losing seasons. He was then fired after the 2018 season. He finished his time in Lubbock with a 35-40 record with three bowl appearances. However, he earned a reputation of developing quarterbacks and having an explosive offense. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes notably shined at Texas Tech and became a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Under Kingsbury’s guidance, Kyler Murray has become an MVP candidate with the Cardinals. It’s not known whether Kingsbury would leave Arizona after turning them into a contender, but Oklahoma is now one of the most sought-after jobs in college football.
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With Riley out, the Sooners will welcome a familiar face to the sidelines to serve as interim head coach for their bowl game. Bob Stoops, who led Oklahoma to a National Championship in 2000, will make his return to Oklahoma after retiring in 2017.