USC coach Lincoln Riley revealed that his family needed armed security after he announced plans to leave Oklahoma in November of 2021. In an interview on the YouTube series “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,” Riley said there were multiple security incidents that put his family at risk.
“I had a lot of different people trying to break into the house the days after it happened,” Riley said. “And 95% of the fans and people out there at Oklahoma or anybody else are great. You typically always have that percentage that at times take it too far. Obviously, this was one of those instances.”
Riley was announced as USC’s coach on Nov. 28, 2021, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The original plan, according to Riley, was to let his two daughters — who were nine and five at the time — finish out the fall semester before moving them to Los Angeles. After the break-ins and a handful of other incidents, Riley decided he had to “get them out of here” as fast as possible.
“I told my wife and the couple of people that I confided in the night we made the decision, I told them it’s going to be bad,” Riley said. “A couple of people were like, ‘Well, it’ll be a few hours, a few days, but it’ll blow by.’ I said ‘No, I’ve lived in these shoes. It’s going to be that bad.'”
Riley’s departure ranked as one of the most earth-shattering coaching moves in the history of the college football; no Oklahoma coach had departed for another college job since 1947. His exit kicked off the first external coaching search for the Sooners since Bob Stoops was hired after the 1998 season.
In five seasons at Oklahoma, Riley posted a 55-10 record with four consecutive Big 12 championships and three appearances in the College Football Playoff. No other program has more than three Big 12 titles total since the league was formed in 1996. In his first season at USC, Riley led the Trojans to an 11-3 record and Pac-12 Championship Game berth.