Brent Venables was officially introduced as Oklahoma’s 23rd head football coach during a gathering in Norman, Oklahoma, on Monday morning. But Venables didn’t move forward in his new gig without first showing gratitude for the place he and his family have spent the last 10 years.
With his wife, Julie, and their four children, daughters Laney and Addie and sons Jake and Tyler, in attendance, Clemson’s former defensive coordinator spoke for nearly 20 minutes during the event on OU’s campus, thanking many people who’d helped him get to the point where he’s now a head coach for the first time in his career. That included his family, his former position coach, Jim Leavitt, and some of his former bosses, including former Kansas State coach Bill Snyder and former OU coach Bob Stoops.
There was one more: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who hired Venables away from OU in 2012 to run his defense. Venables morphed into arguably college football’s top defensive coordinator during his run with the Tigers, which included top-25 defenses nationally in all but one season (his first), six straight College Football Playoff appearances and a pair of national championships.
“Y’all know we had incredible success there,” Venables said. “The secret sauce there is the people. Like any great family and any great organization, it’s the people. I’ve grown more in these last 10 years holistically as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a coach and a believer than I have the rest of my life.
“I’m just incredibly indebted. “I wouldn’t be standing here today if he wasn’t for his belief in me. And his lovely wife, Kathleen, and his children, they’re like family.”
Venables also thanked his former players at Clemson and OU, where he worked as an assistant under Stoops for 13 years before his highly successful stint with the Tigers that’s led him back to his old stomping grounds.
“The only reason that I’m standing up here is because of your work, your passion, your love and your commitment,” Venables said. “Again, I’m just grateful for those relationships. Although I’m in Oklahoma, family is family.”
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