Former Oklahoma and NFL tight end Joe Jon Finley, who’s spent the last nine years working his way up the coaching ranks, was hired to Lincoln Riley’s staff, OU announced Tuesday.
Finley joins the Sooners as Riley’s associate head coach for offense. He will assume former assistant Shane Beamer’s role of coaching OU’s tight ends and H-backs and assisting with special teams.
“We’re excited to welcome Joe Jon and his family back to Norman,” said Riley in a statement. “He obviously had a great playing career and has established himself as one of the top tight end coaches in the country.
“He’s had great experience working for several tremendous programs and I know he’s going to bring a lot to ours. We’re thrilled to welcome him back and can’t wait for him to get started.”
After winning three Big 12 championships with the Sooners from 2004-07, Finley enjoyed NFL stints with the San Francisco 49ers (2008-10), Detroit Lions (2010-11) and Carolina Panthers (2012).
Finley began his college coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at OU following his final NFL season. After spending two seasons as an OU graduate assistant under his former head coach Bob Stoops, Finley spent a year as an offensive line coach at Los Fresnos High School in Texas and the next year as an offensive quality control assistant at Baylor.
He earned his first full-time tight ends coaching position in 2016 at Missouri, where his unit led all other tight end groups in the nation with 15 touchdown receptions in 2017. He left for a similar role at Texas A&M in 2019, helping develop Freshman All-America selection Jalen Wydermeyr.
Finley’s latest gig was at Ole Miss, where he was the school’s passing game coordinator and tight ends coach this past season. Finley, under the direction of head coach Lane Kiffin, assisted a squad that ranked third nationally in total offense (555.5 yards per game), seventh in passing offense (344.9 yards per game) and 14th in scoring offense (39.2 points per game).
He will have a loaded H-backs room awaiting him in Norman, which boasts the likes of Austin Stogner, Brayden Willis, Jeremiah Hall and Mikey Henderson.
As an OU player, Finley accounted for 775 yards and 10 touchdowns on 62 catches. He is the fifth OU alumnus on Riley’s staff, joining Cale Gundy (co-offensive coordinator/inside receivers), Calvin Thibodeaux (defensive line), Brian Odom (inside linebackers) and DeMarco Murray (running backs).
“Oklahoma’s my alma mater, it’s where I met my wife and where I started my coaching career, so obviously it’s a special place to my family,” said Finley in a statement.
“I look forward to working with great coaches, great players and great support from Sooner Nation. I can’t thank [athletics director] Joe Castiglione and coach Riley enough for bringing me back home.”