After a long, some would say abnormally so, search in which nearly every other job across the country that opened after it was filled, FootballScoop is reporting that the Kent State Golden Flashes have themselves a new head coach in Sean Lewis, Syracuse’s co-offensive coordinator.
From Lewis’ SU bio:
One of the brightest, young offensive coaches in the country, Sean Lewis is in his second year as Syracuse’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
In his first season with the Orange, Lewis helped spearhead an offense that set or tied more than 40 school records, including new season marks for most passing attempts (522), completions (332) and yards (3,855). In addition, Syracuse racked up 5,290 yards of offense, the second-highest total in school history. The unit featured a pair of all-conference receivers, including record-setter Amba Etta-Tawo who authored the most productive pass-catching season in team history. Etta-Tawo set 10 program records and was named to four All-America teams, including earning second-team honors from Sporting News and third-team honors from the Associated Press.
Lewis’ work with SU’s quarterbacks was instrumental to the offense’s success. Orange signal callers ranked 11th nationally and second in the ACC in passing (321.3 ypg) in 2016. Starter Eric Dungey shined, setting SU sophomore records for passing yardage (2,679) and yards of total offense (2,972). Dungey tied Ryan Nassib’s program record with six 300-yard passing games and finished among the top 15 nationally in completions per game (6th - 25.6), total offense (11th - 330.2 ypg), passing offense (12th - 297.7 ypg) and completion percentage (13th - 64.8). Backup Zack Mahoney also benefited from working with Lewis. In just his seventh career start, Mahoney led SU to 61 points at Pittsburgh, the highest Orange scoring total in more than a decade. Mahoney accounted for a school-record seven touchdowns against the Panthers and tied the SU single-game standard with five TD passes.
Lewis assumed his post at SU in January 2016 after helping run one of the most explosive offenses in college football under Dino Babers at Bowling Green. As the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Falcons in 2015, Lewis helped direct an attack that was top 10 in the FBS in first downs (1st - 389), total offense (4th - 546.8 ypg), passing offense (5th - 366.8 ypg), third-down conversion percentage (5th - .502) and scoring (6th - 42.2 ppg).
Under Lewis’ guidance, seven Bowling Green players earned 2015 All-MAC honors on offense, including conference player of the year Matt Johnson. Johnson finished second nationally in passing yards (4,946), touchdown passes (46) and fifth in passing yards per game (353.3). He set the MAC single-season record for touchdown passes and eclipsed Ben Roethlisberger’s conference record for most passing yards in a season.
Johnson wasn’t the only Falcon to excel while working with Lewis. Wide receiver Roger Lewis (no relation) finished second in the FBS in receiving yards (1,544), third in touchdown receptions (16) and fifth in receiving yards per game (110.3) in 2015. Lewis became the first Falcon since 1994 to earn All-America honors from the Associated Press (third team) and received second-team All-America recognition from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Coaching peers have quickly taken note of Lewis’ success. He was a nominee for the 2015 Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. He was also selected for the first AFCA 30 Under 30 Leadership Institute. As part of the select group of coaches, Lewis participated in a full day of focused, interactive lectures on a variety topics including ethics, leadership, NCAA rules, financial management, hiring and player safety at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Record-setting production has been the hallmark of Lewis’ units since he entered the coaching ranks. As Bowling Green’s wide receivers coach in 2014, Lewis directed a receiving corps that was one of three in the FBS to feature six receivers with at least 20 catches. Four had more than 30 receptions and three players made at least 50 catches. The group accounted for 17 touchdowns, including seven by Roger Lewis, who totaled 73 catches for 1,093 yards to become the first freshman 1,000-yard receiver in BGSU history.
Before following Babers to Bowling Green in 2014, Lewis coached the inside receivers and tight ends for Babers at Eastern Illinois for two years. In 2012, Lewis mentored Erik Lora to one of the best individual seasons in FCS history. Lora was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and finished fourth in the Walter Payton Award voting after setting the FCS single-season record with 136 receptions for 1,664 yards. As a unit, the 2012 Eastern Illinois wideouts hauled in a school-record 341 passes for 4,019 yards and 34 touchdowns.
The following season, Lora and Adam Drake both totaled more than 1,300 yards receiving and combined for 32 touchdowns. Lora was recognized as the best receiver in FCS football for his efforts.
Prior to his stint at Eastern Illinois, Lewis was a graduate assistant at Akron in 2011 and coached the tight ends at Nebraska-Omaha in 2010. He got his coaching start as the offensive coordinator for Richards High School in Illinois from 2007-09.
A four-year member of the Wisconsin football program, Lewis played quarterback and tight end for the Badgers from 2004-07. He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and earned his undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences in 2007.
Lewis and his wife, Sarah, have a son, Rory, and a dog, Champ.
MAC experience, an offensive slant, and a dog named Champ?!? How can this end anywhere but Detroit. It’s fitting that the day we run a story asking if they should mercy kill the football program, they hire a coach. That’s so Hustle Belt.
This story will be updated.