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Buffalo hires South Carolina special teams coordinator, former MAC coach Pete Lembo to lead Bulls

BUFFALO (AP) — Buffalo on Sunday hired South Carolina special teams coordinator Pete Lembo, who has 15 years of experience as a college head coach, to lead the Bulls.

Lembo replaces Maurice Linguist, who last week stepped down after three years leading the Bulls to become an assistant coach at Alabama under Kalen DeBoer. The Bulls went 14-23 under Linguist, who was hired to replace Lance Leipold after he left for Kansas in 2021.

Lembo, 53, has experience in the Mid-American Conference, going 33-29 in five seasons as head coach at Ball State from (2011-15). He also has served as head coach Elon and Lehigh, going 79-36 in 10 seasons.

"We will work tirelessly to recruit, develop and maximize the experience for our student-athletes on and off the field. I am really excited to assemble an energetic staff that will build meaningful relationships with our players and with each other,” Lembo said in a statement.

Lembo hasn't had a head coaching job since Ball State, but he's made several stops as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, including at Maryland, Rice and Memphis.

He joined Shane Beamer's staff at South Carolina in 2021. The Gamecocks reached the postseason during Beamer's first two seasons but slipped to 5-7 in 2023.

The Bulls made one bowl game under Linguist and had a string of three straight winning seasons under Leipold, who went 37-33 at the school from 2015-2020.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football