Named the 19th head football coach in program history in 2011, Lamb led the Bears to immediate success in their first season of action in 2013, claiming the third 10-win season of his coaching career and setting the NCAA Division I record for wins by a first-year program with a 10-2 campaign. The 2013 win total also set a school record for victories, surpassing the previous mark (7), which was set by Lake Russell’s 1931 & 1932 squads. For his efforts, Lamb finished third in the PFL Coach of the Year voting & ranked among the top 11 finalists for FCS National Coach of the Year.
Since taking the helm at Mercer, Lamb’s players have excelled as model student-athletes in the classroom and in the community, participating in numerous volunteering initiatives with local schools, educational programs and more. Three Bears – John Russ, Thomas Marchman and Isaiah Buehler – have been AFCA Good Works Team nominees, recognizing them as outstanding community service leaders.
Lamb led the Bears through a difficult 11-game slate in 2017 and matched the program’s most conference wins since joining the SoCon (4). Mercer went 5-6 overall (4-4 SoCon) with two road wins over FCS nationally-ranked No. 17 The Citadel (Oct. 7) and No. 25 Western Carolina (Nov. 11).
The Bears faced a tall task as the only collegiate football team to play at both Auburn and Alabama in 2017. Despite two losses to the historic powerhouse programs, Mercer trailed Auburn by just seven points with five minutes remaining in the contest and forced the Tigers into five turnovers, their most in a single game since 2012.
Mercer doubled its conference wins total for the third straight year, going 4-4 en route to its second winning season (6-5) since returning to the gridiron. The Bears picked up wins against Tennessee Tech, VMI, Western Carolina, Austin Peay, ETSU & Furman while going 4-1 at Five Star Stadium.
The Orange and Black compiled a 5-6 record (2-5 SoCon) in their second season in the SoCon. Mercer’s campaign was highlighted by an upset victory over No. 3 Chattanooga, 17-14, at Five Star Stadium on Nov. 7. The win marked Mercer’s first victory over a nationally-ranked Top 25 FCS opponent and its first SoCon win at home.
Five of Mercer’s six losses came by seven points or less in the closely-fought season. The Bears boasted a league-best defense that allowed just 21.6 points per game and also led the SoCon in turnover margin (+11). Nine Bears earned all-conference honors at the end of the year.
Lamb led the Bears into the highly-touted Southern Conference in 2014, just one year removed from the program’s return to football. The SoCon served as a familiar league for the veteran coach, who ranks inside the top five on the conference’s all-time wins list. Despite featuring a roster of primarily underclassmen, Lamb guided Mercer to a 6-6 overall record as well as the program’s first SoCon victory in a 27-24 triumph at VMI.
Lamb led Mercer to unprecedented success for a first-year program in 2013 with a program record of 10 wins, including a perfect 8-0 mark at home.
Mercer ranked second in the FCS in rushing, using a balanced attack to pour on 277.9 rushing yards per contest. The Bears had three players gain over 750 yards on the ground, led by freshman quarterback John Russ.
Despite seeing the Bears picked to finish 11th in the Pioneer Football League Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Lamb led Mercer to a 6-2 conference record and third-place finish in the league. For his efforts, he finished third in the PFL Coach of the Year voting and ranked among the top 11 finalists for FCS National Coach of the Year.
Lamb’s Furman teams posted outstanding academic credentials. In the seven seasons since the NCAA instituted the Academic Progress Rate (APR) monitoring system – which tracks eligibility, retention and graduation – Furman’s program produced the highest APR scores among Southern Conference schools.
During his tenure guiding Furman’s program, Lamb had a 67-40 record (.626) as its head coach. He led the Paladins to winning records in eight of his nine seasons and made four trips to the NCAA I-AA (now Football Championship Series) playoffs, reaching the quarterfinals in 2004 and the semifinals in 2005.
“I have been very impressed with President Underwood and Athletic Director Jim Cole and the vision and leadership they are providing at Mercer,” said Lamb of his decision to come to the Macon institution. “One of the qualities that most attracted me to Mercer was their emphasis on the true student-athlete. I have spent the past 29 years at an institution with very similar expectations.
“God has provided this tremendous opportunity for me to assist in the reinstatement of football at Mercer. I look forward to leading Mercer football to the top.”