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Savannah State Names Theo Lemon Head Football Coach
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Savannah State University has named Theo Lemon as its next head football coach.The announcement was made by Athletic Director Robert “Tony” O’Neal on Monday afternoon.
Lemon becomes the 20th head football coach in a 91-year span and replaces Richard Basil who resigned in March.
“We felt that Theo Lemon’s skills and collegiate coaching experience will help kick start our football program,” O’Neal said. “It is great to be in a position to bring in a coach with the credentials of Theo Lemon. He has a winning attitude and has been a part of a number of successful programs.” Lemon has over twenty years of coaching experience on the collegiate level and four years of collegiate head coaching experience. He was named head coach at Central State University in 2003.
He re-established a Central State football program that had been dormant since 1996. With a team of walk-on players, Central State played its first full season in 2005 and finished with a 1-5 record.
“I am excited about the chance to come to Savannah State as the head football coach,” Lemon said. “The opportunity to compete and coach on the Division I-AA level is something I have been looking forward to my whole career. I know it will be a challenge, but I plan on it also being a rewarding experience.” Prior, to coaching at Central State, Lemon served as the head football coach at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., from 2001 to 2002. From 1996-2000 he was an assistant football coach at Wake Forest.
In 1999, Lemon was part of the Wake Forest coaching staff that guided the team to a 7-5 record and advanced to a postseason bowl game for the first time since 1992. In 2000, he was promoted to assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator for the Demon Deacons.
Lemon’s collegiate coaching career also includes stints at Rutgers, East Carolina State University, Northeastern, Kentucky State and a graduate assistantship at Ohio University.
He served as the linebackers coach at Rutgers for two years and defensive line coach at East Carolina for one season in 1993. In 1991 and 1992, he was the defensive coordinator at Northeastern.
At Kentucky State, he was named interim head coach (1984) and also served as defensive backs coach and outside linebackers coach (1983).
From 1985 to 1990, Lemon was the defensive coordinator, offensive line coach and running backs coach at Central State. He helped lead the school to six consecutive postseason appearances and the 1990 NAIA National Championship.
Lemon has also been an NFL Summer Intern Coach with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1992 and the San Francisco 49ers in 1995.
Lemon, 48, earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in 1980 and his master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1990. As a player for Ohio University, he was a four-year starter at the defensive back position.
The Massillon, Ohio, native is married to Channon Lemon and the couple has two sons, Willis, 12, and Dean, 9.