5 things to know about OU coach candidate Brent Venables
The search is over.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables finalized a deal Sunday night to become Oklahoma’s next head football coach. The hiring ended a week-long search after Lincoln Riley left the Sooners for USC.
Here are five things to know about Venables:
Brent Venables was an OU assistant under Bob Stoops
Venables isn’t new to Norman.
Before spending 10 seasons at Clemson, Venables worked alongside Bob Stoops at OU from 1999-2011. He served as the Sooners’ assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach during his time in Norman.
Venables helped OU reach great heights, including a national championship in 2000. The team went 139-34 during his time on the staff.
Brent Venables played and got his coaching start at Kansas State
Before coaching alongside Stoops at OU, Venables worked on a Kansas State staff led by legendary head coach Bill Snyder.
Venables, a Salina, Kansas, native, played linebacker for the Wildcats from 1991-92. He had 124 tackles in his final season, which earned him an All-Big Eight honorable mention.
Venables then served as a graduate assistant coach at Kansas State from 1993-95, and he spent time as the team’s linebackers coach from 1996-98 before joining OU’s staff.
At Clemson, Brent Venables made his mark and was noticed
Clemson is 120-17 since Venables joined the staff in 2012, and his contributions haven’t gone unnoticed.
He earned the 2016 Frank Broyles Award, which is given to the nation’s top assistant coach.
The third time proved to be the charm for Venables. He was named as a finalist for the award in 2006 after helping OU lead the Big 12 in total defense and scoring defense, and he was also named a finalist in 2015 with Clemson.
Venables was paid accordingly for the value he brought to the Tigers. He signed a contract extension in July worth $2.5 million per year through the 2026 season.
Venables is a proven winner
Venables has never been a full-time assistant coach of a team with a losing record at the end of the season.
His success doesn’t end when the regular season does, though. Venables is 13-2 in conference championship games, including a 6-0 record at Clemson.
Venables has had success on the biggest stage. He has three national championship rings in eight appearances.
Venables is ready to lead OU into the SEC
OU is set to make its move to the SEC perhaps as late as 2025, but Venables is an ideal coach to help with the transition.
Clemson has gone 15-6 against SEC opponents with Venables on its staff.
Venables could also equip his staff with coaches who have SEC experience.
ESPN's Chris Low reported on Sunday that Venables’ top choice for his offensive coordinator is Ole Miss offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.
Lebby served as a student assistant at OU from 2002-06 before graduating from the university in 2007. He became the Ole Miss offensive coordinator in 2020, and the Rebels are averaging 35.9 points per game this season.