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Candidate Profile: Pete Lembo

Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman has started the coaching search, and Blogger So Dear will be breaking down the resumes of potential replacements. First up is Pete Lembo of Ball State.


Pete Lembo is currently in his third season as the head football coach at Ball State University. During his tenure at Ball State, Lembo has a 25-12 record, including 17-7 in the MAC games. He inherited a team that went 4-8 in the previous coach's final season and he has improved the team's record every year. Lembo has gone from 6-6 (4-4 MAC) to 9-4 (6-2) and this year Ball State is 10-2 (7-1). Ball State has also defeated Indiana (twice), South Florida and Virginia over the past three seasons.

By all accounts Pete Lembo is a bright mind and detail oriented person who has succeeded everywhere he has been. Lembo played offensive line for Georgetown and has worked his way up the coaching ladder ever since. He had stints at Albany, Dartmouth and Hampden-Sydney before arriving at Lehigh in 1998 as an assistant. In 2001 Lembo was named head coach at Lehigh and went 11-1 in his first season and 44-14 over his five seasons there. From Lehigh, Lembo went on to coach at Elon where he compiled a 35-22 record over five seasons. Overall Lembo is 104-48 as a head coach.

Pete Lembo has head coaching experience, which is something athletic director Ron Wellman looks for in potential hires. Lembo seems like an excellent fit for Wake because of his familiarity with high academic institutions as well as knowledge of North Carolina. Lembo and his staff have done an excellent job of establishing a North Carolina pipeline at Ball State. In fact, 10 of his current players are from North Carolina and 21 overall are from the southeast. Keep in mind, Ball State is located in Muncie, Indiana.

Jim Grobe was beloved by Wake Forest fans because of his incredible warmth and Pete Lembo possesses a lot of similar characteristics. Lembo is very accessible and, like Wake Forest, all of his practices were open to the public. Lembo has a newsletter that he personally writes every week and is also very involved in the Muncie community to try and generate local support for the team. He is also a staunch believer in the red-shirting program, where nearly every freshman red shirts giving them time to adjust to the college game/lifestyle.

On offense, Pete Lembo's teams run almost everything out of the shotgun, regardless of down or distance. It's a pass happy system that is equal opportunity and utilizes screens and quick passes. But the pass also sets up the run and Jahwan Edwards ran for more than 1,400 yards last season. This scheme has allowed Ball State to finish 20th and 27th nationally in total offense in each of the past two seasons. On defense, Lembo and his staff utilize a 4-3, which is different than the 3-4 system that Wake Forest currently runs. However, given the loss of nose guard Nikita Whitlock, it may make sense to revert back to the 4-3.

Look for more candidate profiles to come. Many thanks to Brandon Smith of Ball U Blog for providing some insight on Pete Lembo.