Oklahoma hires Clemson's Venables as head coach
"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."
Venables worked for the Sooners from 1999-2011 before moving to Clemson. He won the Broyles Award at Clemson in 2016 as the nation's top assistant coach. Venables also helped the Tigers win national championships in 2016 and 2018.
Clemson's defense has been one of college football's best under Venables. The school has allowed only 15 points per game this season, the second-best mark in the nation.
"This is a truly great day for Oklahoma - for our program, our current players, former players, recruits, and fans," athletic director Joe Castiglione said. "Coach Venables is a proven winner who, over the years, has helped his teams earn 13 conference championships and three national titles, and has developed one of the country's consistently best defenses.
"A born leader, he helped build and sustain an exceptional culture during his 13 years here at Oklahoma and his 10 seasons at Clemson."
The Sooners began looking for a new sideline boss after Lincoln Riley's stunning departure a week ago. His move to USC abruptly ended a successful four-year stint in the Big 12.
Venables, 50, turned down several head coaching opportunities in recent years. In July, he became the highest-paid assistant in college football.
- Saban envisions CFP drawing solely from 2-3 megaconferences
- Calipari calls Kentucky a 'basketball school,' riling Stoops
- Notre Dame AD: Big Ten deal with NBC 'perfect' for Irish
- Alabama's Earle to miss start of season with foot injury
- Former Washington State coach Rolovich files wrongful termination claim