The job of head football coach at Southern California is still a destination gig.
Lincoln Riley has proved as much.
The former Oklahoma Sooners coach, who replaced national champion Bob Stoops at the age of 33, will now lead the Trojans after five years in Norman, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday. The person requested anonymity because the hire had not been publicly announced.
USC has been in line for a new coach since firing Clay Helton halfway through this year after a middling five seasons. Donte Williams has been serving as the interim coach.
As recently as Saturday, Riley’s name had been linked to other jobs, and he flatly denied his interest in the LSU Tigers’ opening after his team’s loss to rival Oklahoma State, 37-33, in “Bedlam.”
Riley’s run at Oklahoma featured four Big 12 titles and three appearances in the College Football Playoff. All of those postseasons ended with losses in the semifinals, the first to Georgia in 2017 during an epic Rose Bowl, and a pair of blowouts to Alabama (2018) and also LSU (2019).
Oklahoma will be facing those teams on a regular basis as a future member of the Southeastern Conference, but Riley will not be with them. Overall, Riley went 55-10 in five years. He also coached back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018), both of whom went on to become No. 1 draft picks in the NFL.
Oklahoma will be owed $4.5 million buyout. His salary with the Sooners paid him $7.6 million per year through Jan. 31, 2026. Terms of his contract with the Trojans were not immediately available.
Contributing: Steve Berkowitz
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lincoln Riley to be new USC football coach, leaving Oklahoma