November 29, 2023

Lewis, 37, brings an extensive résumé to The Mesa, serving as head coach at Kent State from 2018-22 before spending the 2023 campaign as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Colorado under head coach Deion Sanders. He has also witnessed great success as a coordinator/ assistant coach in stops at Syracuse (2016-17), Bowling Green (2014-15) and Eastern Illinois (2012-13).
"I am thrilled to welcome Sean Lewis and his family to San Diego State University," Wicker said. "He is a coach with immense talent and I'm looking forward to the excitement that his teams are going to generate at Snapdragon Stadium. His approach emphasizing academic and life skills opportunities are equally important and will complement the student-athlete experience."
In his lone season at Colorado, Lewis revved up the team's sputtering attack, with the Buffaloes averaging 12.75 points and 82.31 yards more per game than the previous year in 2022.
"San Diego State University, my family and I can't express how excited we are to be joining this incredible community," Lewis said. "We are looking forward to partnering with all of you in serving and leading our amazing football program. The time is now to support and make Snapdragon Stadium the place to be for Fast, Physical, Fun Aztec Football."
"Sean has shown that he can develop student athletes both on-and-off the field. On the field, he has a proven track record as a dynamic offensive playcaller, and I look forward to seeing what he will do for our program in terms of recruitment," said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. "He will surely energize our fan base – a fan base made up of our students and their families, our faculty and staff, our donors, and nearly 500,000 living alumni."
In five seasons at the Kent State helm, Lewis transformed a moribund program into an offensive juggernaut, with his 2021 team setting school records for plays (1,052) total yards (6,907), rushing yards (3,482), passing yards (3,425) and first downs (362). That season, the Golden Flashes boasted the third-best rushing attack in the nation while ranking fourth in total offense (495.2). Not surprisingly, Kent State clinched its second postseason berth in four years with an appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Individually, the Golden Flashes placed seven players on the all-conference team following the 2021 campaign, including senior quarterback Dustin Crum, who was presented with the Vern Smith Leadership Award, signifying the Mid-American Conference's Most Valuable Player. Under Lewis' tutelage, Crum became the first Kent State quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season and was one of two players in school history to surpass the 9,000-yard barrier in total offense for his career (7,420 passing; 2,071 rushing) and throw for more than 50 touchdowns (55).
During a shortened 2020 season, Lewis guided the Golden Flashes to a 3-1 mark, securing the program's first back-to-back winning records since the 1976-77 campaigns. Lewis' FlashFAST offense was on full display in those four games, as Kent State led the nation in total offense (606.5) and scoring offense (49.75). The Golden Flashes punctuated that electrifying year with a 69-35 triumph over Akron, tying the program's single-game records in points (69) and touchdowns scored (10).
In 2019, Lewis orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in college football, as Kent State tied for the eighth-best improvement in FBS with five additional wins from the previous year, finishing with a 7-6 overall record. The Golden Flashes capped that memorable season with a 51-41 victory over Utah State in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, which marked the first bowl win in program history.
Lewis' offense continued to make tremendous strides that year, improving from 22 points per game in MAC play the previous season to over 34 points in 2019. Kent State compiled over 600 yards of total offense in two games, including a 750-yard outburst against Bowling Green, which marked the most in an FBS regulation game that year.
Individually, six Golden Flash players landed on the all-conference team in 2019, featuring kicker Matthew Trickett, who was named the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year. In addition, Crum flourished under Lewis' guidance, leading the league in quarterback rating (159.2) and completion percentage (69.3) while posting a 20-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Lewis made an immediate impact in his first season with the Golden Flashes in 2018, as Kent State improved dramatically in several statistical categories, averaging 11.2 points and 108.4 yards more per game compared to the 2017 campaign.
After posting a 2-10 mark in his inaugural season with the Golden Flashes, Kent State compiled a 22-21 overall record in Lewis' final four years with the program, including a 17-10 ledger in conference play. Except for the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, the Flashes played three Power 5 schools each season during Lewis' tenure. Excluding those Power 5 games, his record at KSU improves to 22-9.
Prior to his hire at Kent State, Lewis spent two seasons Syracuse under head coach Dino Babers in 2016-17, serving as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
With Lewis' assistance, Syracuse's high-octane offense averaged 456.3 yards and 24.4 first downs per game in 2017, scoring 40 points or more in three contests to go with an impressive 27-24 victory over defending national champion Clemson.
In addition, the Orange led the nation in offensive plays per game (87.8) that season, while wide receiver Steve Ishmael garnered second-team All-America accolades and was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award after setting program records with 105 catches and 1,347 receiving yards.
During Lewis' first year at Syracuse in 2016, the offense set or tied over 40 school records, including most passing yards in a season (3,855), while its 5,290 yards of total offense ranked second in program history. Not to be outdone, Orange quarterbacks finished 11th nationally in passing offense.
Lewis arrived on the Syracuse campus after working a pair of two-year stints alongside Babers at Bowling Green (2014-15) and Eastern Illinois (2012-13).
With Lewis on staff as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Bowling Green ranked fourth nationally in total offense (546.8) during the 2015 campaign while occupying the sixth spot in scoring offense (42.2 ppg).
That season, Lewis also tutored Falcon quarterback Matt Johnson, who collected MAC Offensive Player of the Year honors after finishing second nationally in both passing yards (4,946) and touchdown passes (46). Additionally, All-American wide receiver Roger Lewis was slotted second in the country in receiving yards (1,544) while ranking third in touchdown receptions (16). The previous season, Bowling Green captured the MAC East Division title and secured a spot in the Camellia Bowl.
Lewis coached tight ends and inside receivers during his tenure at Eastern Illinois, helping the Panthers to consecutive Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff berths, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in 2013 with a 12-2 mark. EIU's offense was led by Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Included in the 12 wins was a 40-19 victory at San Diego State on Aug. 31.
Lewis played collegiately at Wisconsin under legendary head coach Barry Alvarez, competing at quarterback and tight end. He twice received Big Ten all-academic recognition before earning his bachelor's degree in 2007 from the university in agricultural sciences.
Lewis began his coaching career at his alma mater, Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois, serving as offensive coordinator under the late Gary Korhonen, who garnered National High School Coach of the Year accolades from both the National Football Hall of Fame and the National High School Coaches Association.
Lewis accepted his first college coaching position at Nebraska Omaha, working with the Mavericks' tight ends in 2010 before serving as a graduate assistant at Akron during the 2011 campaign.
Lewis and his wife Sarah have two children, Rory and Kiera.