Feb. 22, 2017
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh announced Wednesday (Feb. 22) the hiring of Kevin Lempa to the position of senior defensive analyst.
"Kevin is a great addition to our football program and defensive staff," said Harbaugh. "He adds a wealth of experience and knowledge on the defensive side of the ball, and Kevin's working relationship with Coach (Don) Brown will be a big asset for our team. I have known and have had a deep, abiding respect for Coach Lempa as a coach and a good man. We are excited to have Kevin, his wife, Sara, and their adult children, Christopher and Tara, join the Michigan football family and university community."
"I am very excited and honored to become part of Coach Harbaugh's staff," said Lempa. "I am also fired up to be working with Coach Brown again."
Lempa joins the U-M staff with a track record of leading some of the top defensive units in college football. He brings more than 42 years of coaching experience at the college and pro levels, including five seasons as a defensive coordinator.
He comes to Ann Arbor from the University of Hawaii, where he was serving as defensive coordinator for the second time in his career (2000-02, 2016). Lempa's first stretch with Hawaii was a successful one. His 2001 Warriors led the nation in fumble recoveries (21), and the following year produced 25 turnovers with then-program records in defensive scoring (32 points) and pick-sixes (four). The defense had 32 interceptions over his two seasons leading the unit.
Lempa worked with Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown as the defensive backs coach at Boston College (2013-15), where he coached the nation's top defense in 2015. His teams have played in 13 bowl games, and he has helped guide nine players to NFL careers, as well as many more to All-ACC, All-WAC, All-Ivy League, All-Big East, All-ECAC and All-America honors.
Lempa's recent stint at Boston College was his third with the Eagles (1981-90, outside linebackers/special teams; 2003-06, defensive backs). His 2013 return to BC came after four seasons as a secondary (2007-08) and then safeties (2009-10) coach at Maryland and defensive coordinator jobs at Central Connecticut State (2011) and Columbia (2012).
Originally hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, Lempa was a wide receiver during his own career, playing at Southern Connecticut State from 1970-73. After his playing career ended, he began his coaching path as an assistant at his alma mater in 1974-75. He coached his old position for the 1976 season at Wesleyan before permanently moving over to the defensive side of the ball at the University of Maine (1977-90), where he also earned his master's degree in education in 1978.
Lempa coached Dartmouth's defensive backs for six seasons (1991-96) and served as the defensive coordinator for the final four seasons (1993-96), his first opportunity as a coordinator, after which he coached in the National Football League as an assistant with the San Diego Chargers from 1997-99. Lempa was a defensive assistant with the team during Harbaugh's first season with the Chargers (1999).
Lempa graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 1974 and earned his master's in education at Maine. Lempa and his wife, Sara, have two grown children, Christopher and Tara.