Ball State wanted a proven coach to rebuild its struggling football program.
On Sunday, athletic director Tom Collins hired longtime Football Championship Subdivision coach Pete Lembo as the Cardinals’ new coach.
Lembo spent the past 10 seasons at Elon in North Carolina and Lehigh in Pennsylvania, turning both FCS teams into playoff contenders.
The Cardinals hope Lembo can make the same kind of impact in Muncie, Ind.
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“The search for our next football coach included talking to a number of people in the football world. Coach Lembo’s name and credentials continued to surface as an outstanding candidate,” Collins said in a statement posted on the athletic department’s website. “We are looking forward to his contribution to the program and looking forward to getting started.”
Lembo replaces Stan Parrish, fired last month after the Cardinals finished 4-8 for their second consecutive losing season.
Lembo went 35-22 in five seasons at Elon and was 24-14 in the Southern Conference, putting together offenses that averaged more than 400 yards per game each of the past four seasons.
“He and his staff have done a great job taking the Elon football program to the upper tier of the Southern Conference,” Elon athletic director Dave Blank said.
Before moving to North Carolina, Lembo spent five seasons at Lehigh, where he went 44-14.
Lembo won the Eddie Robinson national coach of the year award after going 11-1 in his first season at Lehigh.
GOLDEN KEEPS TRIO
New Miami coach Al Golden is keeping current offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill and linebackers coach Micheal Barrow for the 2011 season.
Golden has six coaches on his staff for next season. Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, defensive line coach Jethro Franklin and defensive backs coach Paul Williams — all of whom were with Golden at Temple — were hired last week.
Stoutland will remain the interim head coach for Miami’s appearance in the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame on Dec. 31.
NEXT IN LINE
Kent State has called a news conference for today to introduce its new coach.
The school has been searching for its 20th coach since Doug Martin resigned with a few weeks remaining in the season.
Athletic director Joel Nielsen interviewed a dozen candidates, including four on campus: Alabama wide receivers coach Curt Cignetti, Texas wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, Ohio State assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell and Kent State defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis.
Kent State went 5-7 in Martin’s final season and 29-53 in his seven seasons.
University of Washington legend Don James was Kent State’s 10th coach (1971-74).