Rhett Lashlee is starting to build his staff in anticipation of becoming SMU’s next head coach.
The Daily Campus confirmed with multiple people involved in the process that Miami’s offensive coordinator is reaching out to candidates and operating as if he will succeed Sonny Dykes in the coming weeks.
Lashlee has contacted coaches both currently at SMU and outside the program to gauge their interest.
This comes as Lashlee has widely been reported to be the frontrunner to replace Dykes if, and when, he leaves for TCU. The general feeling within the program is Dykes will depart for Fort Worth at the end of the regular season.
SMU plays Tulsa on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. for its regular season finale.
According to the same sources, Lashee and SMU have been in contact for weeks about replacing Dykes. While SMU was confident it would keep Dykes before this week — according to The Dallas Morning News— the administration was still doing its due diligence.
Lashlee naturally moved to the top of SMU’s list, and the 38-year-old immediately showed interest in the job, according to those sources.
Lashlee was SMU’s offensive coordinator during the program’s best season since The Death Penalty in 2019. He worked with Dykes for two years at SMU, from 2018-19, and sheparded one of the top performing offensives in the country.
Under Lashlee, SMU brought in Shane Buechele and averaged over 41 points per game in 2019. SMU was top 15 in the nation in points per game, passing offense and total offense.
Lashlee left SMU to take the same position as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami in Florida. He oversaw Hiesman hopeful quarterback D’Eriq King before an injury derailed his season.
Of course, even as this is happening, Dykes remains the head coach at SMU.
Dykes addressed the SMU team on Sunday to talk about the reports of him leaving for TCU. Seniors Alan Ali, Hayden Howerton and Delano Robinson all said Dykes did not say whether he would stay or leave in the meeting. However, he did commit to coaching the game on Saturday.
“What you have to understand is it’s just a business,” Robinson said. “Coaches don’t mean harm. They love the players. They care for the players. Sometimes when a bigger opportunity hits you, you got to do what’s best for you and your family. I understand where [Dykes] is coming from.”