Pete Lembo wins 2001 Eddie Robinson Award
Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo honored as the most outstanding coach in FCS
In his first year as a head coach, the former Lehigh assistant led the Mountain Hawks to a 10-0 regular season record, an outright Patriot League title, and an automatic berth in the FCS playoffs. Included in the season were blowouts of league foes Towson (47-12), Holy Cross (47-14) and arch rival Lafayette (41-6), as well as road victories over Patriot contenders Colgate (25-22) and Bucknell (21-14). In the postseason, Lembo and company upset Colonial Athletic (formerly Atlantic 10) co-champ Hofstra, 27-24 in overtime, to earn a trip to the national quarterfinals. A loss to Furman in that round ended the team?s season. Lembo's squad ranked among the national leaders in scoring defense (15.8 points per game), and rush defense (86.6 rushing yards yielded per game).
Said Lembo, "It is extremely gratifying to receive such a distinguished award in honor of one of America's great football coaches. While this is an individual coaching award, I accept it knowing full well that our team's success and the efforts of many people associated with our program have made this possible."
The first-year head coach served as an assistant and recruiting coordinator at Lehigh from 1998 through 2000, helping build a program that had come off two losing campaigns to become a perennial Patriot League powerhouse. In Lembo's three seasons as a Lehigh assistant, the team won 34 games and went to the FCS playoffs all three years. Lembo came to Lehigh from Hampden-Sydney College, and before that served a successful three-year assistantship at Dartmouth. As a player at Georgetown from 1988 to 1991, Lembo was a four-year starter on the offensive line of Hoya teams that were among the nation's most successful at the Division III level.
Lembo is the third coach from the Patriot League to win the Eddie Robinson Award, and first since 1988. Holy Cross? Mark Duffner (1987) and Lafayette?s Bill Russo (1988) were the first two recipients of the honor.
Lembo received 11 first-place votes and 175 points from the panel of 103 FCS sports information directors and selected media. Following Lembo in the ultra-close voting was 2000 Robinson winner Joe Glenn of Montana, who earned 13 first-place votes and 170 total points. Northern Iowa?s Mark Farley was third with 16 first-place votes and 153 total points.
The Eddie Robinson Award was established in 1987 by The Sports Network. The Award is named for legendary head coach Eddie Robinson, who retired in 1997 after 57 years at Grambling State University.