John Hoover

John E. Hoover: OU regents approve details of Lincoln Riley’s new contract, other coaches

John E. Hoover: OU regents approve details of Lincoln Riley’s new contract, other coaches

New contract details were announced today for Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley. Riley, the Sooners’ new head coach, gets a five-year deal worth $3.5 million annually ($1.3 million the rest of 2017) and Stoops, the program’s all-time wins leader, will get $325,000 for a role that has yet to be defined. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The start of the Lincoln Riley era keeps getting better and better for Lincoln Riley.

The University of Oklahoma on Tuesday announced what Riley will be earning as the Sooners’ new head coach, as well as the figures for other coaches, at a Board of Regents meeting in Norman.

Riley, after two years as OU’s offensive coordinator, starts his head coaching career with five-year contract and an annual salary of $3.1 million per year, which includes an annual $500,000 stay bonus every June 1.

Riley also gets a $200,000 annual raise every February 1.

For the rest of 2017, Riley will be paid $1.3 million (his new salary in monthly payments), and in 2018 — with a base salary of $325,000, a personal services amount of $2.275 million, the raise and the stay bonus — Riley will get a cool $3.3 million, plus incentive bonuses (including $425,000 if the Sooners win the national championship).

Among his Big 12 Conference peers, Riley’s 2017 salary ranks him fifth behind Texas’ Tom Herman ($5.25 million), TCU’s Gary Patterson ($5.1 million), Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy ($4.2 million), and Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury ($3.5 million), per 2016 data compiled by USA Today and other media sources. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder also makes $3.1 million annually, per USA Today.

Riley just received a massive raise and contract extension as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator, an unprecedented three-year, $3.9 million deal. But with his appointment as Bob Stoops’ replacement, his new salary is more than doubled.

Stoops will remain on the payroll at $325,000 annually. Although his role moving forward remains undefined, it’s likely Stoops will be heavily involved in fundraising and fostering new and ongoing relationships with OU’s cadre of big-money donors.

Stoops’ brother, defensive coordinator, outside linebackers coach and associate head coach Mike Stoops, received a $20,000 annual pay hike to $920,000 on a contract that runs through the 2018 season.

Other new deals for the staff:

  • Riley’s first hire, assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach Ruffin McNeill, received a two-year deal worth $560,000 per year.
  • Offensive line coach and assistant offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh got a $110,000 raise to $535,000 per season through the 2018 season.
  • Inside receivers coach and associate head coach Cale Gundy also got a $40,000 raise to $430,000 per year through 2018.
  • Outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons got a $38,000 raise to $350,000.
  • Defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks received a bump of $25,000 to $475,000 through 2018.
  • Special teams coordinator and running backs coach Jay Boulware received a $45,000 raise to $400,000 per year.
  • Inside linebackers coach Tim Kish got a $15,000 bump to $370,000 a year.
  • Defensive ends coach Calvin Thibodeaux received a $20,000 raise to $270,000 a year.

Also, new baseball coach Skip Johnson, whose hire was formally announced on Tuesday, will get $375,000 per year, a strong indicator that Johnson’s promotion from pitching coach was in place for some time since Pete Hughes’ resignation last week — possibly before.

Coaching salaries at OU are not paid with public money or student fees, but through private donations such as the athletic department’s separate fundraising arm, the Sooner Club.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, OU president David Boren announced a five percent tuition hike for Oklahoma residents, and a 6.5 percent increase for out-of-state students.


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. 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. 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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