LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley won the Broyles Award on Tuesday, becoming the youngest winner ever to take home the honor for the nation’s top assistant coach.
The 32-year-old Riley joined the Sooners a year ago after leading East Carolina’s offense for five seasons.
"You’re never going to dream that Bob Stoops from Oklahoma is going to call you," Riley, a native of Muleshoe, Texas, said during the award ceremony in Little Rock.
Riley’s offense will be tested as the No. 4 Sooners, averaging 45 points and 543 yards per game, face top-ranked Clemson in a national semifinal on Dec. 31.
Since an early season loss to Texas, the Sooners’ only loss this season, Oklahoma has averaged nearly 300 yards rushing per game while running the table and winning the Big 12 title.
"It’s the most unselfish team I’ve ever been a part of. It’s a helluva lot easier to call plays when you’re pretty good on defense, too," Riley said.
Other finalists for the award, named for former Arkansas coach and longtime athletic director Frank Broyles, included Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik and Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. Smart and Chizik are previous winners, and Smart will coach Georgia after the college football playoff.
Former Broyles assistants who went on to noted head coaching positions include the Washington Redskins’ Joe Gibbs; Iowa’s Hayden Fry; Johnny Majors of Pittsburgh and Tennessee; Barry Switzer at Oklahoma and the Dallas Cowboys; Jimmy Johnson of Miami and the Cowboys; and Jackie Sherrill of Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Mississippi State.