Rhett Lashlee is leaving his post as the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator and will take over as coach of the SMU Mustangs, according to multiple reports.
Lashlee will coach Miami in its regular-season finale Saturday against the Duke Blue Devils. It’s not yet clear whether he’ll stay with the Hurricanes through their bowl game.
Sonny Dykes remains the coach at SMU for now, although 247Sports.com reported he is leaving to take over the TCU Horned Frogs. Footballville was first to report Lashlee’s hire.
Lashlee hired at SMU, per source.
— Footballville (@Footballville) November 26, 2021
Lashlee, who is also the quarterbacks coach, came to Miami ahead of last season and has completely transformed the Hurricanes’ offense. Last year, the Hurricanes jumped from 90th to 26th in the nation points per game and 98th to 32nd in total yards per game, and their offense has been even better this year, even after quarterback D’Eriq King went down with a season-ending shoulder injury after just three games.
Miami (6-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast) is averaging 32.9 points per game and ranks 30th in the nation at 442.6 yards per game. With Lashlee at the helm, wide receiver Charleston Rambo is on pace to break the Hurricanes’ single-season receiving yards record this weekend and second-year freshman quarterback has an outside shot to set Miami’s single-season touchdown passes record even though he only threw one pass in the Hurricanes’ first three games.
Lashlee’s name first popped up in connection to the Mustangs earlier this week and he was a logical fit once the job came open. Lashlee spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at SMU under Dykes in 2018 and 2019, and set records. In 2019, the Mustangs set single-season school records for scoring and total yards, while finishing ninth in the nation in yards per game.
For the Hurricanes, Lashlee’s departure is a major blow, although not unexpected. As Lashlee turned Miami’s offense into one of the best in the ACC last year, his name frequently started to pop up in connection with other job openings and SMU is one of the best jobs outside the Power 5 Conferences.
His departure comes at a pivotal time for the Hurricanes. Coach Manny Diaz is on the hot seat after falling short of the 2021 ACC Championship Game and Miami is currently looking for a new athletic director after firing Blake James on Nov. 15. As Diaz tries to convince the administration to give him another year, he’ll have to make the pitch he can keep winning without one of his most valuable assistant coaches.
No matter who’s coaching the Hurricanes next year, it won’t be easy to replace Lashlee. After years of running a pro-style system, Miami brought in Lashlee to modernize its offense and he delivered, luring King in as a transfer from the Houston Cougars, landing elite quarterback recruit Jake Garcia in the Class of 2021 and turning Van Dyke into one of the sport’s breakout stars in the second half of this season. His successor will walk into a good situation, but will have to prove this massive turnaround wasn’t just because of one man.