KEARNEY, Neb. The University of Nebraska at Kearney has hired former Eastern New Mexico head coach Josh Lynn as its head football coach, UNK announced today (Jan. 4).
UNK will formally introduce Lynn as the 18th head coach in school history on Friday, Jan. 6. The news conference will begin at 10 a.m. on the East Concourse of the UNK Health & Sports Center.
"What I am excited about is the passion of the current athletic administration to continue to build a program for this university and community," said Lynn. "I am committed to ensuring our student-athletes are successful on the field, in the classroom and in the community. My family and I are excited to be a part of the UNK Loper family."
Lynn replaces Josh Lamberson, who led the Lopers the past two years. Lynn becomes just the fifth head football coach at UNK since 1955. UNK Director of Athletics Dr. Paul Plinske chose Lynn following a search that began in late December.
Lynn, 38, is a native of Eunice, N.M., and an ENMU graduate. Over the past five seasons, he helped turn his alma mater around, leading the Greyhounds to 27 wins, two C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl appearances and a share of the 2013 Lone Star Conference (LSC) title. In six years as a collegiate head coach, Lynn has a 37-27 record.
Prior to his return to 25824Portales, the 'Hounds had not had a winning season since 2004. They now have recorded four straight winning campaigns and were tabbed as the top collegiate program in New Mexico (all levels) in 2015 by HERO Sports.
This past season, ENMU went 7-5 and battled MIAA-member Fort Hays State in the Heart of Texas Bowl. Tying for third place in the LSC, the 'Hounds led the league in total offense (473.4 yards per game) and rushing offense (344.6 ypg) while ranking second in passing efficiency (160.5) and rushing defense (105.3 ypg).
Three ENMU players were named first-team all-conference with junior Kamal Cass chosen as the LSC's Offensive Back of the Year and also garnering All-American honors.
The 'Hounds' bowl trip in 2013 marked ENMU's first postseason appearance in 30 years, with the LSC title the program's first conference title since 1991. Subsequently, Lynn was named the LSC Coach of the Year, was tabbed as the Region 4 Coach of the Year by two different outlets and was runner up for the Liberty Mutual National Division II Coach of the Year award.
Over the past four seasons, the 'Hounds have set numerous school records while ranking among the national leaders in a variety of categories, including total offense, rushing offense, passing efficiency, rushing defense and punt return yardage. At the same time, ENMU has had the LSC's highest football team GPA.
"Josh is a proven winner at the NCAA Division II level. Not only is he an excellent coach, but he is resourceful and understands how to make the most of any situation. Above all, he is a players' coach and will sustain our strong Loper family culture," said Plinske. "He is the best hire for today and an even better hire for the future of Loper football. He will do great things at UNK."
Lynn is a member of the Division II 2016 AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Board of Coaches and was the LSC's Chair for head football coaches. A member of the Super Region 4 ranking committee, he helped in fund-raising and the planning to get a $15.6 million dollar stadium back on the ENMU campus.
Prior to returning to Portales, Lynn spent seven years (2005-11) at New Mexico Military Institute. He was head coach in 2011, leading the Broncos to nine wins, a bowl berth and a national ranking of sixth in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association)
Working alongside his brother, Jeff, Lynn was NMMI's defensive coordinator for four years before becoming assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in 2010. From 2005-09, NMMI was New Mexico's winningest collegiate program. The Broncos took part in the 2009 Salt City Bowl in Hutchinson, Kan., the program's first postseason appearance in 11 years.
He also worked in the defensive secondary and with the outside linebackers at Division II power Delta State (Mississippi) in 2004. Lynn began his coaching career at his alma mater where he was a restricted earnings coach and then a graduate assistant. He worked with the 'Hounds receivers, tight ends and specialists and was recruiting coordinator for nearly two years.
Throughout his 16-year coaching career, Lynn has coordinated both sides of the ball and coached every position except the defensive line.
In his playing days, Lynn was a two-time first-team all-conference tight end who helped ENMU win back-to-back LSC South Division titles in 1999 and 2000. His teammates also voted him a co-captain twice during his career.
GETTING TO KNOW JOSH LYNN (Career head coaching record of 37-27)
- Eastern New Mexico University (Portales, N.M.), Head Coach/Secondary/Special Teams Coordinator (January 2012-December 2016) … record of 27-25
- New Mexico Military Institute (Roswell, N.M.), Head Coach/Offensive & Special Teams Coordinator/Offensive Line (Spring 2011-Fall 2011) … record of 9-2
- New Mexico Military Institute, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line (Spring 2010-Spring 2011)
- New Mexico Military Institute, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary/Linebackers (Spring 2005-Spring 2010)
- Delta State University (Cleveland, Miss.), Assistant Coach/Outside Linebackers & Safeties (Summer 2004-Spring 2005)
- Eastern New Mexico University, Graduate Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator/Wide Receivers/Tight Ends/Specialists (August 2002-May 2004)
- Eastern New Mexico University, Assistant Coach-Restricted Earnings/Wide Receivers/Tight Ends/Specialists (Spring 2001-May 2002)
Personal (Turned 38 on Dec. 23): A native of Eunice, N.M., Josh and his wife, Pamela, have three children in Bryson (6), Carly (2) and Levi (1) … the former Pamela Zens was a volleyball player at Division I Hofstra University (N.Y.) … brother, Jeff, is currently the head football coach at Roswell (N.M.) High School … father, David, is in the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Honors after a nearly four-decade coaching career
Education: B.S. in Physical Education from Eastern New Mexico, 2002; Master's in Sports Administration from Eastern New Mexico, 2004