Two seasons, two different Mid-American Conference head coaches resigning in the offseason to accept a lesser job at a Power Five School.
Less than a year after Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos left to be the offensive coordinator for Arkansas, Pete Lembo will be leaving the Cardinals after a 3-9 season that saw Ball State finish 5th in the MAC West, in front of only Eastern Michigan. Ball State also finished 127th of 128 teams in average attendance this season, with less than 8,000 fans a game coming to see the Cardinals in 2015. Lembo has accepted a job as an assistant under DJ Durkin at Maryland, according to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman.
It has been a struggle for Pete Lembo the last two seasons after Lembo managed to bring Ball State back to prominence in his first three seasons. Lembo went 25-13 from 2011-2013, leading the Cards to bowl eligibility in all three seasons with two bowl appearances, both of which ended up in losses. 2013 was the defining season for Lembo, as Ball State finished 10-3 (7-1 MAC) and finished 2nd in the MAC West. That season, Lembo's name was being thrown around for various coaching openings, including Wake Forest and NC State. Lembo stayed at Ball State, but injuries, combined with a lack of depth, resulted in two disappointing seasons in 2014 and 2015, with the Cardinals going 8-16 (6-10) in that span.
Lembo has also had previous stops at FCS-level Elon, where he rebuilt the Phoenix into a consistent Southland Conference contender, going 35-22 (24-14) in his five years there, and at Lehigh, where he lead the Mountain Hawks to two Patriot League championships and multiple national rankings, compiling a record of 44-14, including an impressive 26-7 in conference.
Part of the appeal for the move could be his ties to the Atlantic seaboard. Lembo is a former offensive lineman and a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and held coaching positions at UAlbany in New York, Dartmouth in New Hampshire, Lehigh in Pennsylvania, and Elon in North Carolina. Lembo is a native of Staten Island, NY,
There has been no news regarding a potential replacement as of yet.