John Hoover

John E. Hoover: Lincoln Riley’s new raise answers more than a few questions

John E. Hoover: Lincoln Riley’s new raise answers more than a few questions

It stands to reason that Lincoln Riley should make more money than his quarterback.

But that was close.

The University of Oklahoma announced at Tuesday’s Board of Regents meeting that it had given its second-year head football coach a fat, 5-year, $25 million raise and extension that will pay him about $100,000 more in 2018 than the $4.7 million quarterback Kyler Murray got as a signing bonus to play baseball with the Oakland A’s.

Riley’s deal — as it stands now — includes a $100,000 annual pay bump that takes him to $5.2 million in 2022. The new contract has all the usual verbiage: a $325,000 base salary, plus $3.475 million in unrestricted private funds for personal services, fundraising and promotional activities, as well as a $500,000 annual “stay benefit” each June 1 and a supplemental retirement income plan worth $500,000 a year. The increase in compensation amounts to $1 million a year.

Per USA Today, Riley’s average of $5 million a year would place him tied for 10th among head coaches last year, behind Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Jim Harbaugh, Urban Meyer, Rich Rodriguez, Jimbo Fisher, David Shaw, Tom Herman and Gary Patterson. Kevin Sumlin got $5 million from Texas A&M last year but now has replaced Rodriguez at Arizona. Sumlin was replaced by Fisher at A&M.

Riley is now tied with Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy as the third-highest-paid coaches in the Big 12 Conference, behind Herman ($5.75 million) and Patterson ($5.1 million).

The rest of the OU football coaching staff also got hefty raises:

  • Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Mike Stoops went from $920,000 to $950,000.
  • Assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach Ruffin McNeill went from $560,000 to $570,000.
  • Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh went from $535,000 to $625,000.
  • Defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks went from $475,000 to $500,000.
  • Receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Cale Gundy went from $430,000 to $500,000.
  • Running backs coach Jay Boulware went from $400,000 to $435,000.
  • Linebackers coach Tim Kish went from $370,000 to $400,000.
  • Receivers coach Dennis Simmons went from $350,000 to $400,000.
  • Defensive ends coach Calvin Thibodeaux went from $270,000 to $325,000.
  • And new tight ends coach Shane Beamer’s deal for $435,000 a year was approved at a previous board meeting.

The OU regents also formally announced plans for a new $22 million softball stadium at the northwest corner of Jenkins and Imhoff, just down the street from the current facility.

“This will be one of the finest facilities in the country and give us a real boost in training and recruiting,” coach Patty Gasso said in a university press release. “It also allows us to serve our great fans with the kind of amenities they deserve.”

Athletic director Joe Castiglione said he determined the best course of action moving forward was not to renovate Marita Hynes Field, but to relocate the facility a half-mile south.

“We have spent a considerable amount of effort reviewing this project and working to achieve the best possible result,” Castiglione said. “We determined that this was the best route to take in developing a facility that not only rates among the best in the nation, but fits with our other athletics sites located in the same vicinity.

“While we’re pleased with the planning phase, we must now turn to our support base and seek the funding assistance we need to bring this project to fruition. I am confident we can build a sustainable financial model.”

In other news from the regents meeting, OU Dean of Students Clarke Stroud will replace long-time director of football operations Matt McMillen at a salary of $155,000.

Men’s basketball assistants Chris Crutchfield, Carlin Hartman and Kevin Kruger all received a $5,000 salary bump, and head coach Lon Kruger received a contract extension through the 2021-22 season. Women’s head coach Sherri Coale also got an extension through 2021-22.


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at

John Hoover

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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