Former Maryland football special teams coordinator and recently named special teams coach Pete Lembo is leaving to become Rice’s special teams coordinator and associate head coach, Sports Illustrated reported Thursday. Lembo confirmed the move on his Twitter bio.
Lembo, 47, who also served as an associate head coach for the Terps, was a strong candidate in December for Fordham’s head coaching vacancy, according to Football Scoop, before the position went to Yale offensive coordinator Joe Conlin. Early last month, linbackers coach Matt Barnes was named special teams coordinator, a post Lembo had held since joining Maryland in 2016.
Under Lembo, formerly the head coach at Ball State, the Terps ranked tied for 11th nationally with four blocked kicks last season and tied for fifth in 2016 with five. Last season, Maryland finished in the upper half of the Big Ten Conference in kickoff returns (21.6 yards per return) and punt returns (10.5). But the Terps also had the worst punting average (35.7 yards per kick) and second-to-worst field-goal percentage (53.3) in the league.