It is not every day you see a head coach leave a college job to take on an assistant role at another program, although it is certainly not unprecedented. Ball State head coach Pete Lembo will reportedly be on his way to taking on an assistant coaching job with Maryland under new Terps head coach D.J. Durkin. Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports reported the interesting coaching development Tuesday.
For Maryland, this is the third assistant coach added to the staff with previous head coaching experience as recently as last season. Durkin has already lined up former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer and former Virginia head coach Mike London. There is something to be said about adding assistants with previous head coaching experience, even if that success at the FBS level has been non-existent or limited at best. Lembo is arguably the most successful of the assistants heading to Maryland with prior head coaching experience, as Shafer was a mess at Syracuse and London had many more negatives compared to the positives. The biggest benefit to this latest addition to the staff for Durkin is he has one more experienced assistant with head coaching experience to rely on for advice as he takes on his first head coaching gig.
Lembo was a head coach at Lehigh and Elon before getting a job at Ball State in 2011, where he went 33-29. Ball State was 0-2 in bowl games under Lembo, and the Cardinals saw its win total dwindle in the past two years from 10 wins in 2013 to five in 2014 and just three this season.
Ball State is hoping to host the Indiana Hoosiers in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in 2019. Whether they get that worked out or not, Ball State and Indiana will play in 2019 as part of a new three-game scheduling agreement announced Monday afternoon.
Indiana will host Ball State twice in the three-game deal. The Hoosiers will welcome Ball State to Bloomington on September 15, 2018 and again on September 19, 2020. The date for the 2019 game has not been confirmed and is likely contingent on availability to host a game in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ball State wants to be the home team in the game, which would also bring a bigger cut of the revenue from the neutral site game in cooperation with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
“A renewed series between Ball State and Indiana is an outstanding opportunity for the student-athletes and fan bases of both institutions,” Ball State head coach Pete Lembo said in a released statement from Ball State. “Our previous games in Bloomington and at Lucas Oil Stadium have been highly competitive and very well attended. These contests will bring great exposure for both teams in our home state. We greatly appreciate the willingness of the Indiana administration to work with us to make this series possible.”
Indiana and Ball State were already scheduled to play in 2016 in Bloomington. Indiana leads the all-time series 4-3.
Lucas Oil Stadium is the host site for the Big Ten Championship Game, so this might be the best chance Indiana gets to play in the stadium as well.
Ball State will make head coach Pete Lembo the highest paid coach in the MAC as part of a five-year contract extension. According to Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com, who was first to report the contract extension, Ball State will also improve various aspects of the football program to provide for future growth.
The contract extension at Ball State comes after the third season under Lembo. In that time Ball State has improved on the season win total each year. In 2013 the Cardinals went 10-3 and finished second in the MAC West behind Northern Illinois. Ball State went to their second straight bowl game under Lembo, but so far they are 0-2 in the postseason. A lack of postseason victories aside, Lembo has shown signs of improvement in the program each season and has put some of his players in position to be some of the best in the conference.
Keith Wenning excelled at quarterback, leading the MAC in pass completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage last fall. Willie Snead led the conference in receptions and receiving yards as well as receiving touchdowns. The defense improved as well. Last fall Ball State had the third highest positive average point differential in the MAC, trailing only MAC champion Bowling Green and Northern Illinois.
This is a great move by Ball State. Lembo’s success with the program has made him an attractive coaching candidate that will be looked at by other programs from power conferences in the next round of the coaching carousel, especially if he can continue to find ways to improve on the field this upcoming season. While a contract extension will not necessarily keep Lembo from leaving one day for a higher paying opportunity at a power conference program, adding that security and comfort for Lembo is a no-brainer that will hopefully make him think hard before possibly leaving.
We are starting to get down to the nitty-gritty for college football, and that means one thing; postseason awards season is just around the corner! OK, so it means a few things, but the awards are starting to trim down their preseason watch lists to finalists and semifinalists as the college football season starts to wind down.
The Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List was released Friday evening. The list includes 20 coaches and includes coaches who have been in charge of dominant programs and some who have turned things around at heir respective programs. Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer are included on the list. So is Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech and Gary Pinkel at Missouri.
here is the complete list of candidates for the award, which will be presented January 15, 2014 in Houston. A list of finalists will be announced in early December. The Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only coaching award voted on and presented at the conclusion of the bowl season. All other coaching awards are presented in December.
Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List
- David Bailiff – Rice
- Art Briles – Baylor
- Rod Carey – Northern Illinois
- Tim DeRuyter – Fresno State
- Jimbo Fisher – Florida State
- Al Golden – Miami (Fla.)
- Mark Helfrich – Oregon
- Brady Hoke – Michigan
- Kliff Kingsbury – Texas Tech
- Pete Lembo – Ball State
- Tony Levine – Houston
- Gus Malzahn – Auburn
- Urban Meyer – Ohio State
- Les Miles – LSU
- George O’Leary – UCF
- Gary Pinkel – Missouri
- Nick Saban – Alabama
- David Shaw – Stanford
- Bob Stoops – Oklahoma
- Kevin Sumlin – Texas A&M