The search is underway in Norman.
The Oklahoma football team suffered a major blow on Sunday after news broke that head coach Lincoln Riley was headed to Southern California.
Riley went 55-10 during his five seasons at the helm of the Sooners' program, and he leaves behind what is arguably the most desirable coaching vacancy in the country.
Here are five candidates who could potentially replace Riley at Oklahoma.
A Venables return to Norman would be fitting.
The current Clemson defensive coordinator served as a member of Oklahoma's staff from 1999-2011. He spent time as a defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and assistant head coach with the Sooners.
Before his coaching career, Venables played linebacker at Kansas State under coach Bill Snyder. He was later part of Snyder's coaching staff from 1993-98. Another member of that K-State staff when Venables started? Bob Stoops.
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Venables has experienced plenty of success since joining Clemson's staff in 2012. The Tigers have won two national championships, and Venables won the 2016 Broyles Award, which went to the nation's top assistant coach.
Venables' experience with both the program and the College Football Playoff makes him an ideal candidate to lead OU when it makes the move to the SEC no later than 2025.
Beamer also has a connection to the Sooners.
The South Carolina head coach served as OU's assistant head coach from 2018-20. He was part of the staff that coached the Sooners to a nation-leading scoring offense in 2018, averaging 48.4 points per game.
The Gamecocks improved from 2-8 in 2020 to 6-6 this season under Beamer, and the first-year head coach showed his skills on the recruiting trail by securing commitments from four four-star recruits.
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Perhaps no program in the country experienced as big of a comeback as Baylor this season.
After going 2-7 last season in Aranda's first year as head coach, the Bears finished the 2021 regular season at 10-2 and earned a ticket to the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma State.
Aranda spent four seasons as LSU's defensive coordinator before arriving in Waco, and he was a part of the Tigers' national championship run in 2019.
Aranda has been a popular name in the coaching carousel. He was connected to the Florida and USC openings, and he remains an obvious candidate for LSU's vacancy.
Iowa State took a massive leap last season thanks to Campbell.
After leading the Cyclones to a 2-7 record during his first season as head coach in 2016, Campbell coached the program to a 9-3 record in 2020.
Iowa State entered the 2021 campaign as OU's biggest threat to the conference crown, but it finished the regular season at 7-5. Campbell is a two-time Big 12 Coach of the Year and one of the most desirable candidates in the country.
OU has a good track record when hiring from within.
The decision to hire Riley following Bob Stoops' retirement worked out well, and Grinch could be another example.
The Sooners' defensive coordinator turned a group that ranked 101st in total defense in 2018 to 28th in 2020. Grinch's stock fluctuated this season as the Sooners' defense went through several ups and downs, but there's no denying his impact on the program since joining the staff three seasons ago.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma football coaching candidates who could replace Lincoln Riley