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SMU Football Hires Miami’s Rhett Lashlee as Coach

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Miami's Rhett Lashlee. | Image from Miami Herald

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Miami’s Rhett LashleeSix weeks ago, SMU was 7-0 and ranked 19th in the Associated Press’ Top 25 football rankings. Since then, the Mustangs lost four of their last five games, and their head coach Sonny Dykes left to become the coach at cross-town rivals TCU, confirming weeks of rumors.

SMU did not let the disappointing end to the season hinder their hopes as they wasted no time to find his replacement. On Monday, SMU announced that they hired University of Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, as its next head coach.

The Mustangs certainly moved quickly, as their announcement came a day before TCU officially announced Dykes as its head coach.

Lashlee, 38, has familiarity with the program. Preceding his time at Miami, Lashlee spent the 2018-19 seasons as the offensive coordinator under coach Dykes at SMU.

At SMU, he coached the nation’s 7th ranked scoring offense that averaged 41.8 points per game in 2019. That season the Mustangs won 10 games for the first time since 1984 and set a team record with 35 rushing touchdowns.

He was hired away by Miami before the 2020 season. During his first season, the team finished 8-3, won their division, and lost in the Cheez-It Bowl to No. 7 Oklahoma State. This year, Miami finished the regular season at 7-5 with the 26th best scoring offense in the country, averaging 34.1 points per game.

Before his time at SMU and Miami, Lashlee worked as an offensive coordinator for seven seasons at Connecticut, Auburn, Arkansas State, and Samford.  

Lashlee is a two-time finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s best assistant coach. His first nomination came in 2013 as Auburn’s offensive coordinator, and his second came in 2020 as the offensive coordinator for Miami.

“I am humbled and excited to be returning to SMU to lead Dallas’ College Football Team,” Lashlee said in a statement. “I want to thank President Turner, Rick Hart and the members of the search committee for this opportunity. My family and I look forward to engaging the community and continuing to strengthen the program’s ties to the city. On the field, we want to build on the foundation of success we’ve established and compete for – and win – championships.”

Lashlee takes over an SMU program that Sonny Dykes led to a 30-18 record over his four seasons in Dallas but had a tough end to this season. Fans will hope he can consistently replicate the success of the 2019 season.

SMU is used to the sudden coaching changes that accompany the college football offseason. Following the 2017 regular season, former SMU head coach Chad Morris left to become the coach at Arkansas.

“As with previous transitions, our process was thorough and competitive. Ultimately, though, our conversations kept leading us back to one man — Rhett Lashlee,” SMU athletic director Rick Hart said in the statement. “Rhett’s ability to connect with recruits, his passion and love for his players, and his alignment with our vision and values are among the many reasons he has been selected to lead SMU football. We will provide Rhett with the support and resources he needs to bring a championship to the Hilltop, and are thrilled to welcome Rhett back to SMU.”

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