Son of Longhorn fan is lead­ing Sooners

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS - Ryan Aber raber@ ok­la­homan.com

NOR­MAN — Ok­la­homa’s quar­ter­back might’ve grown up a Sooners fan sur­rounded by Longhorns in Austin, but the Sooners new head coach grew up in a house with Texas fans.

Mike Ri­ley reg­u­larly wears an OU hat around the cotton ware­houses he runs in Su­dan, Texas, and ever since Lin­coln Ri­ley, his son, took the job there as an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor be­fore the 2015 sea­son, Mike has been a clear Sooners fan.

But on the wall of the home in nearby Muleshoe that Mike and Mar­i­lyn Ri­ley share, hangs a very real re­minder of where the fam­ily’s al­le­giances used to lie.

“They’ve got a di­ploma and a de­gree from UT up on the wall,” Lin­coln Ri­ley said this week as he pre­pared to coach the Red River Show­down against Texas for the first time since tak­ing over dur­ing the sum­mer for Bob Stoops. “That’s about where the al­le­giance ends right now.”

Ri­ley’s par­ents grew up in and around Muleshoe, but both de­cided to go to col­lege more than 400 miles away in Austin.

Satur­day, Mike and Mar­i­lyn Ri­ley will be cheer­ing against the Longhorns. They’ll also be root­ing on their younger son, Gar­rett, who is the quar­ter­backs coach at Kansas.

And prob­a­bly Texas Tech as well, as the Red Raiders play at West Vir­ginia.

Texas has been knocked way down the peck­ing or­der of Big 12 teams in the Ri­ley house­hold.

When first Lin­coln and then Gar­rett de­cided to go to col­lege about 70 miles south­east of Muleshoe in Lubbock, the root­ing in­ter­ests shifted.

Mike and Mar­i­lyn be­came Red Raiders fans and then when Lin­coln’s coach­ing ca­reer and even­tu­ally Gar­rett’s took their chil­dren to East Carolina, the cou­ple rooted for the Pi­rates.

“I got past that a long time ago, play­ing those guys at Texas Tech all those years,” Lin­coln Ri­ley said of any added emo­tions of play­ing against his par­ents’ alma mater. “It’ll be an emo­tional game be­cause it’s OU-Texas, not be­cause of any­thing else for me."

Dur­ing his one sea­son as a walk-on quar­ter­back at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders beat the Longhorns 42-38 near the end of the 2002 sea­son.

The only other win Ri­ley ex­pe­ri­enced against the Longhorns be­fore last sea­son’s 45-40 win by the Sooners came in 2008, when he was Tech’s in­side re­ceivers coach and the win lifted them to a No. 2 rank­ing.

Ri­ley isn’t the only one coach­ing on the Sooners who has spent time on each side of the ri­valry.

Sooners run­ning backs coach and spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor Jay Boul­ware was born in Ok­la­homa City be­fore mov­ing to Irv­ing, Texas, at a young age.

He grew up in a fam­ily of Sooners fans, but it was the Longhorns who re­cruited him first and though the Sooners even­tu­ally got in­volved in his re­cruit­ment — Boul­ware can’t re­call whether or not he ever got an of­fer from the Sooners — his heart was set on Texas by that point.

“I guess I can root for them since you’re there,” Boul­ware re­mem­bers his OU fan grand­mother telling him when he went off to Texas.

“She was strug­gling with it as were most of my fam­ily mem­bers,” Boul­ware said.

There doesn’t fig­ure to be near as much heart­burn in the Ri­ley house Satur­day as they cheer for their son’s team.

[PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Ok­la­homa coach Lin­coln Ri­ley is the son of Texas alums. But Mike and Mar­i­lyn Ri­ley will have no prob­lem putting their al­le­giance on the side of the Sooners on Satur­day.

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