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PROVO — After first-time head coach Kalani Sitake added first-time offensive coordinator Ty Detmer and first-time defensive coordinator Iliasa Tuiaki to his staff at BYU, the former Cougar fullback needed experience in his ranks.
He got that in another former BYU teammate.
Southern Utah head coach Ed Lamb will join the Cougars as assistant head coach, BYU announced Saturday. The 19th-year college coach has spent the last eight seasons in Cedar City, where he turned a program around from a 19-game losing streak to two FCS playoff bids.
Lamb will also coach the team's tight ends and special teams. As assistant head coach, he will help Sitake in running the day-to-day aspects of the program.
Thunderbirds defensive coordinator Demario Warren, an assistant to Lamb since 2008, will serve as the program's interim head coach, Southern Utah athletic director Jason Butikofer announced.
Under Lamb, the Thunderbirds won the Great West Conference championship in 2010, then brought them to the first round of the FCS playoffs in 2013 and 2015 — both seasons ending in losses at Sam Houston State.
A native of Pleasanton, California, Lamb overlapped with Sitake briefly, playing defensive end for the Cougars in 1995-96 following a redshirt season when the current head coach was a freshman. Sitake served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Oakland, California, after Lamb transferred from Rick's College.
"I'm excited to get back to BYU, a place that has been very instrumental in my life," Lamb said in a statement. "My time on campus as a Cougar changed my life, and continues to shape who I am today. I'm looking forward to working with Coach Sitake, who has been a teammate, friend and colleague for over 20 years.
"I've enjoyed my time at Southern Utah immensely, especially working directly with the players on the team. My family and I will sorely miss being a part of the Cedar City community."
Lamb was a two-time Eddie Robinson Award finalist for national coach of the year, being named American Football Coaches Association Region 5 coach of the year this past season, when the Thunderbirds were rated No. 1 in the Big Sky in scoring defense. His players received more than 100 all-conference honors, including NFL draft pick and former BYU quarterback Brad Sorensen, who is currently with the San Diego Chargers.
Former BYU quarterback Ammon Olsen succeeded Sorensen at quarterback, and will also play in the NFLPA all-star game. Another former BYU quarterback, McCoy Hill, has announced plans to transfer to Southern Utah for next season.
Before moving to Cedar City, Lamb coached at San Diego from 2005-07, coaching the teams' defensive backs and special teams and serving as the Toreros' recruiting coordinator. Working under current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Lamb helped USD win three-straight Pioneer League championships.
Lamb also coached at Idaho and California's University of Redlands after serving as a graduate assistant at BYU in 2001, mentoring the Cougars' linebackers that led the team to a 12-2 record and Mountain West title.
As a player, Lamb won four conference titles — two at Rick's and two at BYU. He anchored a defense that allowed just 18.7 points and 295.2 yards per game in 1996, finished 14-1 and defeated Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl.
Lamb and his wife Sarah are the parents of four children. He earned a master's degree in education counseling from Redlands in 1998.
Contributing: Greg Wrubell