Son of Longhorn fan is leading Sooners
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.
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.