Less than two weeks have passed since Lincoln Riley made the surprising decision to leave Oklahoma for USC. In early December, Oklahoma snatched Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables to pick up the pieces after Riley’s departure, but a member of local government in Oklahoma is attempting to take it upon himself to give Riley another sendoff. Oklahoma state senator Bill Coleman, who lives in Ponca City and represents District 10 in the state, proposed a bill that, in his words, would “honor” Riley by renaming the final three inches of Oklahoma State Highway 325 as “Lincoln Riley Highway.”
“I felt the State of Oklahoma needed an appropriate goodbye to this former head coach whose sudden departure left many in shock, including a team of young, dedicated college players,” Coleman said in a release. “I found the tiniest section of our most desolate of highways to pay tribute to Coach Riley’s exit from Oklahoma football and the state. This is only fitting as this is the last three inches one sees before leaving our great state heading west.”
“LINCOLN RILEY HIGHWAY”???
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants last 3 inches of desolate highway to be renamed Lincoln Riley Highway.
“This is only fitting as this is the last three inches one sees before leaving our great state heading west.”
-Sen. Coleman pic.twitter.com/0cJxJ1dOHh
— Abigail Ogle (@KOCOAbigail) December 7, 2021
This, of course, is an attempt to tear down Riley on his way out and, by proxy, garner some attention for Coleman in the process. In the world of college sports, it isn’t anything new to see local politics in the spotlight, but Coleman went as far as to say that he would personally pay for any signage associated the highway, should it be renamed.
“While we are all free to pursue employment elsewhere, there is a level of professionalism that is expected to be adhered to,” the release continued. “From all indications, professionalism was pretty much absent in how this departure was executed.”
Clearly, Coleman is bothered by Riley’s choice to take his talents to Los Angeles, and he is undoubtedly joined by a lot of Oklahoma fans in those negative feelings. Still, there is something ironic about Coleman sniping at Riley’s “level of professionalism” all while using his public platform, as an elected official, to attempt to embarrass Riley in this way. Alas, such is the passionate world of college football.