Newly hired Southern Utah University football coach Ed Lamb is letting the fact that he doesn't have one down of head coaching experience at the college level get in the way of lofty aspirations for the T-Bird program.
"We will have the goals to have a winning record, to win conference championships and to be selected for the national playoffs," Lamb said Thursday after he was introduced by SUU athletic director Ken Beazer.
"To reach those goals we'll work hard, we'll recruit the best student-athletes we can get and we will strive to accomplish our goals sooner rather than later."
Lamb, who played at BYU in 1995-96, takes over a program that went 0-11 last year under Wes Meier, whose contract wasn't renewed.
"I think it is my responsibility as a head coach to push the student-athletes in ways they didn't know they could be pushed," Lamb said.
Under Meier, the T-Birds were 10-32 4-27 in the last three years.
"When (Lamb) walked out of my office (Wednesday) I couldn't get it out of my mind that 'this is the individual that you can trust with this football program,'" Beazer said. "I know where this football program needs to be and where we want to take it and this is the individual I want leading that program."
Lamb and UTEP centers and guards coach Lawrence Livingston were on SUU's campus Wednesday.
"We had tremendous interest in the job and looked at a lot of candidates before focusing in on Ed as our man. I have confidence he will step in and get our program going in the right direction," Beazer said.
In his last three seasons as the special teams, secondary and recruiting coordinator at the University of San Diego, the Toreros went 31-4, including 9-2 last year. He also had a two-year stint at the University of Idaho as the defensive coordinator.
"I've been in a lot of programs and some of them had uphill battles and I can't wait to take that challenge," he said.
Lamb helped guide San Diego to three consecutive Pioneer League championships as well as back-to-back NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major National Championships, in 2005 and 2006.
This year, the Toreros' special teams ranked first or second in every statistical category and the defense finished 2006 ranked fourth nationally after going 11-1. That year they allowed just 269.4 yards and 12.9 points per game.
"Football-wise, he can lock down two phases of the game himself, defense and special teams. He did a great job when he was at Idaho, leading the nation in point-differential turnaround his first year there," Beazer said. "At San Diego, if you look at the statistics his special teams are at the top, so I have a great deal of confidence in him."
Former SUU quarterback Joe DuPaix interviewed with the T-Birds 10 days ago before pulling his name out of the hat and taking the running backs job at Navy. Also, former T-Bird Todd Bradford, linebackers coach at Oklahoma State University, was interviewed for the position.The T-Birds' last winning season came in 2005 Meier's first year when they went 6-5. SUU hasn't had back-to-back winning seasons since going 8-3 and 7-4 in 1999 and 2000, respectively.
E-mail: [email protected]