A great thing happened in Oklahoma’s locker room following the Sooners 41-17 thrashing of TCU. As the team celebrated their third consecutive Big 12 championship, assistant coach Ruffin McNeill silenced everyone and spoke from the heart.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) December 2, 2017
McNeill and Riley have a long history together going back to their days at Texas Tech where McNeill spent ten years as an assistant. When McNeill became the head coach at East Carolina, his alma mater, Riley was the was one of the first hires he made.
After serving for five years as the offensive coordinator at ECU, Riley came to Oklahoma. Two years later he became the nations youngest FBS head coach and made it a point to call McNeill up and offer his mentor a job.
“I’m very excited that Ruffin McNeill is joining our coaching staff,” said Riley, when he brought McNeill in as an assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach. “Personally, I have a great history with him from our time together at Texas Tech and East Carolina. We’re getting an extremely high-quality person and coach. Our team and fans will love the personality and energy he’ll bring to our program.”
“Having a chance to work for Lincoln, it’s a proud moment for me because I’m very proud of Lincoln,” McNeill said upon joining the staff back in June.
Saturday’s win marked the eleventh time the Sooners have walked off the field as Big 12 champs, but it was the first time they had done so without Bob Stoops. The transition form an iconic coach to an up and coming icon couldn’t have been smoother. Lincoln Riley is invaluable to the Sooner Nation and, with a proud father-like voice, McNeill expressed to the team just how much Oklahoma’s new football boss means to him.