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Oklahoma hires Clemson DC Brent Venables as head football coach

Oklahoma hires Clemson DC Brent Venables as head football coach
Brent Venables (pictured), who was hired as Oklahoma's head football coach Sunday, will replace former coach Lincoln Riley. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Oklahoma hired Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as its new head football coach, the Sooners announced.

Oklahoma officially hired Venables on Sunday. He replaces former Sooners coach Lincoln Riley, who left the program last month to become head coach at the University of Southern California.

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"This is an incredibly special opportunity," Venables said in a news release. "Julie and I and our family are extremely grateful for the belief in us -- and certainly in me -- to be the next head coach at Oklahoma, one of the winningest and most tradition-rich programs in college football history.

"Our memories from Norman, where all four of our children were born, have been nothing but great. We're looking forward to making another decade-plus of incredible memories as we transition to a new era of Oklahoma football, especially with the opportunity and the challenge to join the SEC, the premier conference in all of college football."

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The Sooners were scheduled to introduce Venables at a news conference at 11:30 a.m. EST at Everest Training Center in Normal, Okla.

Venables, 50, joined the Clemson staff in 2012. He was a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Oklahoma from 1999 through 2003. He served as an associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Sooners from 2004 through 2011. He worked under longtime Sooners coach Bob Stoops while at Oklahoma.

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Venables worked as a graduate assistant and linebackers coach from 1993 through 1998 at Kansas State.

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Over the last 10 years, Venables' Clemson defense led college football in sacks and third-down conversion percentage. The Tigers won conference titles every year from 2015 through 2020. Venables won the Frank Broyles Award in 2016, an honor given to the top assistant coach in college football.

Stoops, who took over as the Sooners' interim coach after Riley's exit, is expected to coach the team for its upcoming bowl game. The Sooners (10-2) are the No. 16 team in the College Football Playoff rankings.

"Brent was a major part of our 2000 National Championship team here at OU, won two national titles at Clemson and, all told, has coached in eight National Championship games," Stoops said.

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"He knows the formula to win National Championships and has the toughness, the attitude and the fight that I think will elevate our program in a lot of positive ways. I've always loved his energy, excitement and passion for the game -- it clearly spills over to his players. He has the absolute right experience to come in at this time and really boost our program."

The Sooners battle No. 14 Oregon in the Alamo Bowl at 9:15 p.m. EST Dec. 29 in San Antonio. They start their 2022 campaign against UTEP on Sept. 3 in Norman.

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