We travel to Los Angeles to sit down with USC head football coach, Lincoln Riley. While reflecting on the origins of his coaching career, Riley recalls his days as a quarterback and a critical turning point at the hands of his mentor, Mike Leach. Coach Riley discusses his 2021 departure from the University of Oklahoma, the backlash he and his family faced as a result, and how the death of a dear friend put everything into perspective. Plus, Riley reveals his plans to retire relatively early, reminisces on his relationship with his wife, Caitlin, and Graham gets a personal tour of his stunning $17 million Palos Verdes home.
Later, we meet up with the former Starbucks CEO in Milan, Italy to see first-hand the origins of his billion-dollar idea and savor the triumph of a capstone product launch, after four decades crafting the world’s largest coffee empire.
Lincoln Riley on vacations: 2 boats are better than 1
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley describes the annual fishing trip he takes with friends in Cabo San Lucas, where he explains the origins of his legendary fishing playlist. He says the trip, usually landing right before training camp, finishes out summer and allows him to detach from his usual responsibilities before the football season begins. Riley also breaks down the average day on a family vacation to New Mexico, including an early morning wake up call, spending time with his daughters, and turning everything into a competition – even fishing.
Lincoln Riley: Why I’ll never hire my brother Garrett
Lincoln Riley details his relationship with brother and Clemson football offensive coordinator, Garrett. Riley describes the typical childhood rivalry between the pair growing up and the way their relationship has bloomed into a supportive and encouraging dynamic while working in the same field. He also explains his decision not to hire Garrett as part of his staff, a choice he made to avoid mixing family and work and to help Garrett in finding success independent of his family.
Lincoln Riley: Cops at my parents’ door… and I knew what for
College football coach Lincoln Riley recalls the high school prank that got him into legal trouble. Riley narrates his attempt to spray paint the score of a football game against his rival high school on their water tower and how he nearly got away with it until the next morning. He opens up about the scene of waking up to cops ringing his doorbell, and how despite her disappointment, the only time his mother told him he had to win a football game was after the incident became publicized — and that he did.
Lincoln Riley: I’m a sore loser
College football coach Lincoln Riley confesses to being a sore loser – a trait he says he always has been and always will be. Riley admits that while he has pushed himself to try and enjoy the ride and savor wins, he has difficulty focusing on the positives. Finally, Riley explains how he copes with losing by isolating himself and writing down his feelings, revisiting his writing years later to prepare him for games and ensure he’s applying the past lessons he learned.
Lincoln Riley: Sliding into future wife’s AIM messages
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley and his wife, Caitlin, reveal the story of how they met in high school and began dating in college. Riley looks back on his attempts to hit on Caitlin in college using AOL Instant Messenger, where he eventually asked her on a date, and the rest became history. Plus, Riley opens up about the value of having Caitlin in his life as he tries to balance family with his career.
Lincoln Riley on friend’s death from cancer: Why not me?
Esteemed college football coach Lincoln Riley remembers Dave Nichol, his coach, mentor, and friend during his time both playing and coaching at Texas Tech. Riley reflects on learning that Nichol was diagnosed with cancer and how the Riley family opened up their home to him while he fought the disease, at one point hosting a special night with Nichol’s family and friends shortly before he passed. Finally, Riley divulges that this period of time was one of the hardest in his life, as he was simultaneously dealing with the backlash of leaving Oklahoma while Nichol was battling cancer.
Lincoln Riley’s OU exit: Break-in attempts and armed guards
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley revisits the raw thoughts and emotions he had after announcing his departure from Oklahoma to the University of Southern California in 2021. Despite the dangerous public response that forced Riley and his family to hire home security and eventually vacate their home, Riley shares that he regrets the way he reacted and believes he could’ve done better. Plus, he covers aspects of the move that he considers to be blessings in hindsight – no longer being a hometown celebrity and feeling that his family can exist in peace again.
Lincoln Riley: Fighting for a parking upgrade at USC
Esteemed college football coach Lincoln Riley talks about his obsession with time and efficiency, sharing how he changed his parking spot on USC’s campus after calculating how much time he lost each year walking to it. In an effort to fully utilize spare time, Riley even mentions how he hired a driver to take him to and from his job so he could spend the drive working. Plus, Riley demonstrates the impressive photographic memory he may have inherited from his grandma, recalling specifics from his first game at East Carolina as offensive coordinator in 2010.
Lincoln Riley: Thousands of athletes in transfer portal purgatory
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley reviews the current state of college football, labeling it a sport in transition. He discusses the low success rate of transfers and issues with NIL, arguing that the transfer portal is too often a first resort for players and that NIL has been pushed too far with no guidelines. Finally, he provides an analysis of what he believes should change in college football, beginning with the creation of a structure similar to the NFL.
Lincoln Riley: Initially insulted by Mike Leach’s life-changing decision
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley remembers the conversation with Mike Leach that convinced him to retire from playing football and opened up his first coaching opportunity at Texas Tech. The decision was first met with anger from Riley, but he says the responsibilities given to him by Leach were what helped him prepare to ultimately become a head coach. Later, Riley recalls the moment he was offered a position as offensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma thanks to a rejection from Kentucky that led to a phone call to Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley shares his thoughts on what it takes for a university to have a successful athletics program. He praises the current state of USC football, classifying it as similar to the era of football coach Pete Carroll, who coached USC from 2001-2008 and was one of the winningest football coaches in program history. Plus, he goes on to emphasize the importance of USC football differentiating itself from others in order to stand out for recruits, which he believes was one of Carroll’s greatest strengths.
Lincoln Riley: Brutal honesty with Caleb Williams, Baker Mayfield
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley provides his take on having honest and open conversations as a coach, an asset that he feels helped him and Caleb Williams find success at both Oklahoma and USC. Riley shares how he approaches these difficult conversations with players and how his parents influenced his direct coaching style. Finally, he explains his slightly twisted enjoyment of tense situations in his job because he knows it means progress is taking place.
College football coach Lincoln Riley discusses the possibility of retiring young. He delves into his thought process behind the potential decision to leave college football by age 50, citing one reason as trying out other interests while he still can. Plus, he describes why legacy doesn’t matter to him and notes the importance of making up for lost time by spending retirement with his family.
Lincoln Riley: Tour of my L.A. home
We’re with USC football head coach Lincoln Riley as he gives us a tour of his Los Angeles home built in 1920. As a self-proclaimed health and wellness enthusiast, Riley shares his workout-centered morning routine and shows us around the various spaces at his house, including a tennis court that doubles as a basketball court. Plus, he sorts through the collection of sports mementos he’s collected throughout his life, and plays a friendly (and easy) game of ping pong against Graham.
College football coach Lincoln Riley offers his opinion on several topics while playing in a rapid fire question game, answering tough questions about, football plays, favorite stadiums, golfing, and his own former players
Lincoln Riley: Escape from L.A. on the Palos Verdes Peninsula
USC football head coach Lincoln Riley takes us on a drive through the suburban side of Los Angeles. He praises the area for replicating the slower-paced feel of the south and producing a more accessible experience for his children than inside the big city. Plus, he shares his favorite free time activities with his daughters and discusses the possibility of having more children, a topic in which he lands on a solid no.
We’re at Lincoln Riley’s secret chill out spot, where the USC coach shows off the view from the L.A. trail he’s frequented since moving to the city. He explains how he uses his time on the trail to unwind during game weeks, although he says he has difficulty shutting his mind off from football, even in his sleep. Riley also candidly shares his recent efforts to take pride in where he’s at and celebrate his wins in life, even though it doesn’t come naturally.
OU Sooner producer breaks loyalty for a day in L.A. with Lincoln Riley
Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at our day in Los Angeles filming with USC Trojans football coach, Lincoln Riley. Despite producer Brett’s trepidation to cross enemy lines, Graham enjoys rare access to Coach Riley’s personal life, including a tour of his mansion, some abbreviated ping pong and a walk with the four-time Big 12 championship coach at a nearby oasis. Plus, we hear Coach Riley’s reflection after the long-form interview and Graham builds a small house with the amount of bricks laid on Riley’s basketball court.