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Kent State head football coach Sean Lewis steps down to become offensive coordinator at Colorado

Lewis leaves Kent with a record of 24-31 over five seasons, including the program's first bowl win. He will work under newly-hired Buffaloes coach Deion Sanders.

KENT, Ohio — Football legend Deion Sanders has been making plenty of waves in his first days as Colorado's new head coach, and one of those waves has landed in Portage County.

Kent State head coach Sean Lewis has resigned his position to become Sanders' offensive coordinator in Boulder. ESPN's Pete Thamel was the first to report the news, adding Lewis will owe the school a $750,000 buyout that "will be re-invested into the program."

Lewis, 36, arrived in Kent after a run as OC at both Bowling Green and Syracuse under Dino Babers. He inherited a program that had gone just 14-45 under his predecessor Paul Haynes, but after a 2-10 campaign his first year led the Golden Flashes to their greatest run of sustained success since the 1970s, overseeing the team's first-ever bowl victory in the 2019 Frisco Bowl followed by a trip to the Mid-American Conference Championship Game in 2021.

Lewis' teams have been known for their high-flying "Flash Fast" offenses, notably last season when Grafton native quarterback Dustin Crum took home the Vern Smith Leadership Award as the MAC's MVP. While KSU has not yet hired Lewis' replacement, Thamel reports they "expect to play a similar wide-open style in the future."

Credit: Sue Ogrocki/AP
Kent State head coach Sean Lewis watches as his team warms up before an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Norman, Okla.

Despite being among the favorites in the conference, Kent State dipped to 5-7 this year and missed out on what would've been Lewis' third bowl appearance. He finishes his Flashes tenure with a record of 24-31 in five seasons, including 1-1 in bowls and 4-1 against archrival Akron.

KSU athletic director Randale L. Richmond released the following statement Thursday night when news of Lewis' departure became official:

"We want to thank Coach Lewis and his family for five years of hard work, leadership and dedication. Kent State had tremendous success on the field and in the classroom under his guidance. A national search for the next head coach of the Golden Flashes is underway as we look to continue to take the program to new heights while we graduate student-athletes, boldly prepared for life after sport and win championships."

With Lewis no longer in the picture, several key Golden Flashes have decided to put their names in the transfer portal. The growing list includes starting quarterback Collin Schlee, leading rusher Marquez Cooper, receiver and return man Dante Cephas, and offensive lineman and Akron native Savion Washington.

Sanders, a star at Florida State in the 1980s before becoming a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back, arrives in Colorado after posting a 27-5 in three years at Jackson State in Mississippi. Once one of college football's premier contenders, the Buffaloes have fallen on hard times over the last decade-plus, and are coming off a dismal 1-11 campaign that resulted in Karl Dorrell's midseason firing.

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