South Carolina football assistant coach expected to get head coaching job

South Carolina football assistant coach Pete Lembo is expected to be the next head coach at the University of Buffalo.

South Carolina football coaches Shane Beamer and Pete Lembo
South Carolina football coaches Shane Beamer and Pete Lembo / Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports
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On Saturday, reports began to surface about Gamecock associate head coach/special teams coordinator Pete Lembo being a leading candidate for the head coaching job at the University of Buffalo. On Sunday, new reports from ESPN's Pete Thamel came out that said Lembo is expected to be hired as the headman in Upstate New York soon. He would replace the outgoing Maurice Linguist who gave up his head coaching job to join the staff at Alabama.

If Lembo, indeed, is the man for the Bulls' job, only two coaches (defensive coordinator Clayton White and defensive backs coach Torrian Gray) will remain in place from Beamer's original coaching staff in the same role they started with the Gamecocks. Tight ends coach Justin Stepp was the wide receivers coach from 2021-2023 but has transitioned to the new role this offseason after the hire of long-time SEC assistant James Coley.

Lembo spent three years in Columbia, and his special teams units were rated as the best in the country in 2022. Lembo was a semi-finalist for the Broyles Award that season and was honored as Phil Steele's Assistant Coach of the Year.

Lembo previously served as the head coach at Lehigh, Elon, and Ball State. He also had assistant stints with South Carolina, Memphis, Rice, Maryland, Lehigh, Hampden-Sydney, Dartmouth, and Albany.

With Lembo's expected departure, South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer once again will be looking to make another assistant coaching hire. He has already hired James Coley (wide receivers) and Marquel Blackwell (running backs) this offseason, fired previous running backs coach Montario Hardesty, and moved former wide receivers coach Justin Stepp to the tight ends job.

It is unclear right now if Beamer will choose to hire another full-time special teams coordinator for 2024, or if he will look to bring in a more traditional assistant coach. Beamer has extensive experience working with special teams, himself. Because Lembo previously had expressed a desire to return to head coaching duties, Beamer likely has a few names in mind to fill his team's final assistant spot.

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