San Diego State hired Sean Lewis, the Colorado offensive coordinator and former Kent State coach, as its new head coach on Wednesday.
Lewis spent the 2023 season with coach Deion Sanders and Colorado, handling offensive play calls for the first eight games before former NFL coach Pat Shurmur took over during the final month. Lewis, 37, built his reputation on high-tempo, dynamic offenses, which he used as a coordinator at Syracuse, Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois before leading Kent State’s program from 2018 to 2022.
At San Diego State, he will replace Brady Hoke, who announced his retirement earlier this month. Hoke went 40-32 in two stints with the Aztecs, who went 4-8 this season, their worst mark since 2009. Lewis will be introduced at a news conference later Wednesday morning.
“[Lewis] is a coach with immense talent and I’m looking forward to the excitement that his teams are going to generate at Snapdragon Stadium,” athletic director J.D. Wicker said in a statement. “His approach emphasizing academic and life skills opportunities are equally important and will complement the student-athlete experience.”
San Diego State focused on candidates with backgrounds in offense, sources said, after falling to 111th nationally in scoring this fall. Although the program is 117-62 since 2010 under Hoke and Rocky Long, the Aztecs are just 74th in scoring offense (27.8 PPG) during the span. San Diego State opened $310 million Snapdragon Stadium for the start of the 2022 season.
Lewis went 24-31 at Kent State but guided the team to its first bowl win in 2019, after a 2-10 record the year before. Kent State went 3-1 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, recording its first back-to-back winning records since 1976 and 1977.
Colorado’s offense started strong under Lewis, as quarterback Shedeur Sanders set a team record with 510 passing yards in the opening game at TCU. After finishing 126th nationally in scoring in 2022, Colorado rose to 59th this season, despite some significant challenges along its offensive line.
“Sean has shown that he can develop student athletes both on-and-off the field. On the field, he has a proven track record as a dynamic offensive playcaller, and I look forward to seeing what he will do for our program in terms of recruitment,” San Diego State president Adela de la Torre said in a statement. “He will surely energize our fan base — a fan base made up of our students and their families, our faculty and staff, our donors, and nearly 500,000 living alumni.”