A coaching veteran of over 30 years, Lembo has had successful stints as head coach of three separate programs. From 2001-15, he served as head coach at Lehigh, Elon and Ball State. He amassed a 112–65 career record, including a 79–36 record in ten seasons at the FCS level, making him one of the winningest coaches in the history of that classification.
In five years as head coach at Lehigh, Lembo had . . .
Beginning in 2006, Lembo spent five seasons as the head coach at Elon. He resurrected a program that went 14-42 in the five seasons prior to his arrival. From 2006-10, the Phoenix had a record of 35-22. He was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2007 and in 2009 led Elon to a record of 9-3, including a 7-1 mark in conference play. The Phoenix qualified for the FCS playoffs for the first time in program history that season. Elon enjoyed winning seasons in Southern Conference play all five years he served as head coach, something the program hadn’t achieved during an 11-year affiliation with the conference. His Elon teams set over 120 NCAA, Southern Conference and school records.
No stranger to the Mid-American Conference, Lembo served as head coach at Ball State from 2011-15. Like his previous stops, Lembo enjoyed immediate success. He became the first coach in Ball State history to win 30 games over his first four seasons at the helm. The Cardinals went 9-4 (6-2 in the MAC) in 2012 and 10-3 (7-1 in the MAC) in 2013. The combined 19 wins over those two seasons tied the program record for wins over a two-year span. He led Ball State to the 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl and the 2013 GoDaddy Bowl, marking just the second time in 90 years over Ball State football the program played in bowl games in consecutive years.
Under Lembo’s watch, the Cardinals set more than 60 school records, including single-season records for points (501), total offense (6,199 yards), passing yards (4,214), touchdown passes (35) and total touchdowns (64) in 2013.
Since leaving Ball State following the 2015 campaign, Lembo enjoyed significant success as a special teams coordinator at the Power Five level. He spent the past three seasons as associate head coach and special teams coordinator at South Carolina. He was named a Broyles Award Assistant Coach of the Year Semifinalist, a FootballScoop Special Teams Coach of the Year Finalist and earned Phil Steele’s Special Teams Coach of the Year accolades in 2022 after the Gamecock special teams had arguably their best season on record.
South Carolina earned the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s special teams efficiency ranking after finishing fourth in the country in punt returns (16.6), fifth in kickoff returns (25.1), seventh in net punting (42.8), 23rd in opponent kickoff returns (17.3) and 27th in opponent punt returns (4.6). During his three-year run in Columbia, South Carolina special teams units blocked 14 kicks after recording eight blocks over the previous five years (2016-20) combined.
Lembo had similar success as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator at Memphis in 2019 and 2020. He helped lead the Tigers to a 12-win season in 2019 and a berth in the Cotton Bowl. His unit finished second in ESPN’s Special Teams Efficiency Rankings in 2019 and sixth in the FBS in the overall special teams rankings compiled by the data analysts at Football Outsiders.
Prior to Memphis, Lembo served as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator at Rice (2018) and Maryland (2016-17). Both programs excelled in special teams under Lembo’s tutelage. In his two seasons at Maryland, the Terps tied for fifth nationally with nine blocked kicks. While at Rice, the Owls ranked fifth in the FBS with just 16.12 kickoff return yards allowed.
“I would like to thank Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt and President Tripathi for providing me with this tremendous opportunity,” Lembo said. “I look forward to partnering with them, as well as the other leadership in the athletic department, on campus and in the community to make the UB football program one that we can all be proud of. We will work tirelessly to recruit, develop and maximize the experience for our student-athletes on and off the field. I am really excited to assemble an energetic staff that will build meaningful relationships with our players and with each other.”
A native of Staten Island, NY, Lembo began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Albany in 1992. He went on to coach tight ends at Dartmouth from 1994-96 and serve as offensive coordinator at Hampden-Sydney in 1997.
Lembo, a 1992 graduate of Georgetown University, was a four-year starter on the Hoyas’ offensive line and served as team captain in 1991.