Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury linked with Oklahoma Sooners job

Kingsbury is rumored to be under consideration as Lincoln Riley’s replacement in Norman


Frankieleon (Flickr)

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley packed up and headed west to USC.

The University of Southern California Trojans made a surprising announcement on Sunday, when news broke that the university has hired Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley to take over its football program going forward.

Reportedly, as Oklahoma looks to pick up the pieces following its coach’s departure, the Sooners already have their eyes on a potential big-name replacement — Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

The Trojans dismissed former head coach Clay Helton after two games this season. The school named Donte Williams as the interim head coach, but the Trojans finished the 2021 season with a disappointing 4-7 record. 

Riley, who led Oklahoma to a 55-10 overall record and three trips to the College Football Playoff since 2017, has signed a long-term contract as Helton’s replacement. He is expected to restore USC to its traditional place atop the Pac-12 conference, which the Trojans have not won in four years.  

The Sooners wrapped up the 2021 regular season with a 10-2 record, but a loss to in-state rivals Oklahoma State prevented the Sooners from playing in the Big 12 conference championship game. Oklahoma, along with fierce rival Texas, is slated to move to the Southeastern Conference in the near future. 

Kliff Kingsbury has a 22-20-1 record as the Cardinals’ head coach. He has received praise for helping to develop the team’s star quarterback, Kyler Murray. (Joe Glorioso, All-Pro Reels)

Shortly after the first reports emerged about Riley’s departure from Oklahoma, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the college football powerhouse is interested in hiring current Kingsbury as Riley’s replacement.  

Kingsbury has the Cardinals sitting in first place in the NFC West with a 9-2 record. He coached Oklahoma’s Big 12 rival Texas Tech between 2013 and 2018, and his contract with Arizona is set to expire after the 2022 NFL season.

While speaking to the media on Monday, Kingsbury was quick to deflect any rumors regarding Oklahoma’s head coaching vacancy. 

Yeah, I don’t get into those things,” he said. “My sole focus the last couple weeks has been the Chicago Bears and after watching on Thanksgiving, it needs to be because they’re a really good football team and had a big win. And so that’s where my focus has been.”