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Riley Announces Defensive Staff Changes

NORMAN — Mike Stoops has been dismissed as the defensive coordinator for the Oklahoma football team. Head coach Lincoln Riley made the announcement.

“I have great respect for Mike,” said Riley. “He’s a quality football coach, great man and a close friend. It became time for a change in our program and that happens sometimes in football, but we cannot lose sight of the accomplishments Mike had at Oklahoma. He was responsible for a lot of success and deserves the gratitude of everyone associated with Sooner football, not only for his role in the winning, but for coaching with integrity.”

For the remainder of the season, assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach Ruffin McNeill will serve as the defensive coordinator. Bob Diaco will move from defensive specialist to coach the outside linebackers.

McNeill was defensive coordinator at UNLV from 1997 to 1998, and Fresno State in 1999. He later served in that same role with Texas Tech from 2008 to 2009 before taking over as head coach at East Carolina from 2010 to 2015. Diaco served as defensive coordinator at Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Nebraska. He was the head coach at Connecticut from 2014 to 2016.

“Ruffin has an impressive résumé,” Riley said. “That’s why I wanted him on our staff in the first place. I have confidence in his knowledge and leadership. Bob has a lot of experience in very good programs and also has a list of accomplishments that will help him step in and make an immediate impact. We are fortunate to have these men in our program. They’ll be ready to get to work in new roles right away.”

Stoops first joined the OU staff in 1999 and helped guide the 2000 Sooners to the national championship. He departed prior to the 2004 season to become the head coach at Arizona, a position he held through the 2011 season. He then returned to OU for the 2012 season as defensive coordinator and has been with the program since that time.

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