Former East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill will serve as Oklahoma’s assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach under new head coach Lincoln Riley, the school announced Wednesday.
McNeill, 58, hired Riley as his offensive coordinator at East Carolina in 2010, and it seems Riley returned the favor.
Riley, 33, was hired as Oklahoma’s new coach earlier this month, after long time head coach Bob Stoops abruptly retired after 18 seasons.
Before East Carolina, the two coaches were on Texas Tech’s coaching staff together.
“I’m very excited that Ruffin McNeill is joining our coaching staff,” Riley said in a statement released by Oklahoma. “Personally, I have a great history with him from our time together at Texas Tech and East Carolina. We’re getting an extremely high-quality person and coach. Our team and fans will love the personality and energy he’ll bring to our program.”
In McNeill’s six seasons at East Carolina, he built a 42-34 record. In 2015, the Pirates finished with a losing record and McNeill was fired. He spent the 2016 season as Virginia’s assistant head coach and defensive line coach under head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
“I had a great experience working for Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia and really enjoyed that,” McNeill said in a statement. “Now having a chance to work for Lincoln, it’s a proud moment for me because I’m very proud of Lincoln. It’s an exciting moment as well. I’ve been in coaching a long time and I’m very honored to be joining the Oklahoma family.:
Mendenhall, in a series of tweets Wednesday, said, “Ruffin McNeill is one of the best people, not only in the world of coaching, but also in the world, period. Ruff has amazing relationships with anyone he’s met. He’s got a great football mind.”