STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Southern fired coach Tyson Summers on Sunday, halfway through his second season with the school and with the Eagles 0-6.
The Eagles were blown out 55-20 on Saturday by previously winless Massachusetts, dropping Summers’ record to 5-13. Summers is a Georgia native who was defensive coordinator at Colorado State and Central Florida before being hired by Georgia Southern to replace Willie Fritz after the 2015 season.
Summers got off to a bad start not only with a losing season in year one but by moving the team away from the triple-option offense that has brought the program decades of success. Georgia Southern won six national titles in Division I-AA (now FCS), and then won 18 games in its first two seasons playing in FBS, the highest level of Division I football.
Longtime Georgia Southern assistant Chad Lunsford, who was assistant head coach this season, was promoted to interim coach. The Eagles play Sun Belt Conference rival Troy on the road Saturday.
“I thank Tyson and his family for their contributions to Georgia Southern,” Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein said in a news release. “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.”
The school’s administration had to publicly support Summers after last season because there was already so much pressure to make a coaching change. In the offseason Summers hired Navy assistant Bryan Cook to be offensive coordinator and return the program to the style its fans had become accustomed to seeing.
But it has not worked. Georgia Southern is 91st in the nation in yards per carry at 3.84.
And the former offensive coordinators hired by Summers when he first took the Georgia Southern job filed a lawsuit against the school’s athletic association, Summers and Kleinlein for breach of contract.
Summers was in the second year of a four-year deal, which paid him $500,000 last season, according in USA Today’s coaches’ salary data base .