State Watch

Oklahoma senator proposes naming three inches of highway after departing football coach

An Oklahoma senator on Tuesday proposed “honoring” former University of Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley by naming a 3-inch portion of state highway after him, according to a news release.

Republican state Sen. Bill Coleman of Ponca City suggested renaming the sliver of State Highway 325 to “Lincoln Riley Highway” as a dig at Riley, who is leaving to coach at the University of Southern California.

“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 the 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,” he added. 

Coleman’s proposed “honor” follows Riley’s recent acceptance of a heading coaching position at USC shortly after Oklahoma was beaten out of contention in late November for December’s Big 12 championship game. Since Riley’s announcement, several star recruits have exited the program and several other players have hinted at exploring transfer options. 

“They were, of course, blindsided — they were in shock,” interim coach Bob Stoops said, according to ESPN. The news has left Oklahoma fans, including Coleman, upset.

“While we are all free to pursue employment elsewhere, there is a level of professionalism that is expected to be adhered to,” Coleman added in the release. “From all indications, professionalism was pretty much absent in how this departure was executed.”

The bill could become law during the state senate session convening on Feb. 7. If signed into law, any signage associated with the 3-inch renamed portion of highway would be personally financed by Coleman.

Tags Bill Coleman Lincoln Riley Oklahoma

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