Oklahoma confirms Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as next head coach – USA TODAY

Oklahoma confirms Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as next head coach – USA TODAY

Oklahoma has hired Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as its next head coach, one week after Lincoln Riley departed for Southern California. 

The school confirmed the addition of Venables, a former defensive coordinator for the Sooners, in an announcement Sunday. An introduction ceremony will be held Monday.

“This is a truly great day for Oklahoma — for our program, our current players, former players, recruits and fans,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. “Coach Venables is a proven winner who over the years has helped his teams earn 13 conference championships and three national titles, and has developed one of the country’s consistently best defenses.”

Venables, 50, was a key part of Clemson winning two national titles and had been a target of several  coaching searches in recent years but chose to stay and become the highest-paid assistant in the country at $2.5 million anually. His familiarity with Oklahoma, where he coached under Bob Stoops from 1999-2011 and was part of a national championship in 2000, made it a much easier call to pursue this opportunity. 

The hiring comes at a critical time with the Sooner poised to leave the Big 12 for the SEC some time between 2023 and 2025. The departure of Riley, who went 55-10 in his five seasons with three College Football Playoff appearances, caused concern about the program’s future as several key players from the 2022 and 2023 recruiting classes decommitted since his surprise move.

Venables, however, is embracing the challenge.

“There’s no question we are equipped to compete at the very highest level and attract the best players from across the country,” Venables said. “The OU logo has never been stronger.”