Oklahoma hires former ECU coach Ruffin McNeill as an assistant

McNeill was East Carolina’s head coach for six seasons. (Getty)

Lincoln Riley and Ruffin McNeill are coaching together again.

Riley, the new Oklahoma coach, is adding McNeil to his coaching staff as an assistant head coach. McNeill will also coach the team’s defensive line. He comes to Oklahoma after spending a year as an assistant coach at Virginia.

“I’m very excited that Ruffin McNeill is joining our coaching staff,” Riley said in a statement. “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.”

Riley, 33, became Oklahoma’s head coach last week after Bob Stoops’ sudden retirement. Stoops’ departure also opened a spot on the coaching staff, so Riley found his former head coach. McNeill was the coach at East Carolina when Riley was the team’s offensive coordinator before he went to Oklahoma. Riley went to ECU with McNeill from Texas Tech after McNeill served as Tech’s interim coach in the 2009 Alamo Bowl after Mike Leach’s firing.

McNeill, a graduate of East Carolina, spent six seasons as the Pirates’ coach. He compiled a 42-34 record and took the team to four bowl games. The school replaced him with Scottie Montgomery before the 2016 season and McNeill found a spot on Bronco Mendenhall’s staff at Virginia.

Now Mendenhall is looking for an assistant coach to replace McNeill.


“I’ve been at every level and have done it a lot of different ways,” McNeill said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with great people. I’ve had the big-picture view of a head coach, I’ve been a defensive coordinator and I’ve been a special teams coordinator, so I think I have some things I bring to the table. I absolutely love coaching the players. I love that part. I’m excited to do that here. Can’t wait to get on the field, get in the meeting rooms, talk strategy, talk life. That’s what I’ve always been known for; being a hard worker and a team guy. I believe it’s team and family first, last and always. Lincoln and his wife, Caitlin, are family to me. I’ve known him since he was 18 years old when he was a freshman at Texas Tech.”


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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!