When new head coach Rhett Lashlee was hired by SMU at the end of this past season, he took no time in starting to assemble a new coaching staff that should be able to help him build on an 8-4 season in 2021 and a planned bowl appearance that was later canceled. Expectations will no doubt be up at the Hilltop as the Mustangs start their hard off-season work in preparation for spring football drils.
Lashlee wasted no time in announcing the hiring of Scott Symons as the new SMU defensive coordinator. Symons helped coach the Liberty Flames in 2021 to a win in the Lending Tree Bowl. In addition, Symons led a defense that was in the top 20 nationally in FBS in passing yards allowed, red zone defense, total defense and tackles for losses and Liberty ranked 26th in sacks and 27th in scoring defense. Symons has been with Liberty as the DC since 2019 including a stellar 2020 season where the Flames went 10-1 and ranked 17th in the final AP Poll. Prior to coming to Liberty, Symons worked in 2018 at Memphis where the Tigers finished up 8-6 including playing in the American Athletic Conference championship game and the Birmingham Bowl.
Symons honed his craft while serving as the DC at Division II West Georgia. While there from 2014-17, Symons also served as the safeties position coach. During his tenure, Symons helped West Georgia to three Division II playoff appearances and a Gulf South Conference championship. Symons worked as the DC at Division II Arkansas Tech in 2013 and also coached the wide receivers, DB’s and served as a recruiting coordinator. In 2012, Symons and Rhett Lashlee crossed paths while both were on the staff at Arkansas State – a fortuitous crossing of the paths since both coaches now find themselves leading SMU. Symons started his coaching career at Division II Harding University, where he also earned a masters degree while on the coaching staff.
Head coaches have a tendency to hire people they know and can work with and based on the previous coaching relationship between Rhett Lashlee and Scott Symons, the two will work well together to keep the Mustangs on an upward trajectory in the American Athletic Conference.