Update: The school has confirmed the move. Summers is out as head coach, and Chad Lunsford will serve as interim head coach.
“I thank Tyson and his family for their contributions to Georgia Southern,” AD Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “Being the leader of a college football program is more than just coaching games; it’s managing academics and leading 120 young men. Tyson did a great job in areas that the public doesn’t see, but at the end of the day, the results on the field weren’t where we needed them to be as we continue our growth as an FBS program. I wish he and his family all the best moving forward in their future endeavors.”
Original story below.
Tyson Summers will not return as the head coach at Georgia Southern, sources told FootballScoop on Sunday. We are told he has been informed of the decision the team is making a change, now.
Summers was let go a day after falling 55-20 to a previously winless UMass team. The loss dropped Georgia Southern to 0-6 on the season and 5-13 under Summers.
A six-time FCS national champion, Georgia Southern experienced immediate success upon joining the Sun Belt in 2014. Predecessor Willie Fritz posted an 18-7 overall mark and a 14-2 record against the Sun Belt in his two seasons in Statesboro.
In a microcosm of the erosion of Georgia Southern’s fortunes and identity: the program has fallen from tied for second nationally in yards per play in 2014 to 127th this fall.
A Georgia native and a former Georgia Southern assistant, Summers was hired away after spending one season as defensive coordinator on Mike Bobo’s staff at Colorado State. He immediately spurned the Eagles’ trademark triple option and immediately lived to regret it; Georgia Southern lost nearly 150 yards per game off its rushing average and watched its scoring average fall nearly 10 full points per game.
Summers replaced co-offensive coordinators David Dean and Rance Gillespie after the 2016 season, but the pair is now suing the athletics department for alleged underhanded tactics initiated by Summers to significantly reduce each coach’s buyout once they were eventually let go.
Summers reversed field in 2017 and returned to the triple option, hiring Georgia Tech assistant Bryan Cook to run the offense, but it was not enough to salvage his tenure. The Eagles’ rushing output has actually dropped close to 50 yards per game from 2016 and fallen 45 percent (from 363 yards per game to 199) since 2015. After averaging 36.5 points per game in 2015, the Eagles sit at 123rd nationally at just 18 points per game this fall.
With the change, Georgia Southern becomes the fourth FBS program to make a change since the end of the 2016 season, joining Ole Miss, Oregon State and UTEP.
The Eagles begin the second half of their season at Troy on Saturday.
Sources tell FootballScoop assistant head coach Chad Lunsford is expected to be named interim head coach.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.