Southeastern names Lance Guidry defensive coordinator

Special to the Advertiser
Lance Guidry has been named defensive coordinator for Southeastern Louisiana football.

HAMMOND — Veteran coach and Louisiana native Lance Guidry will join the Southeastern Louisiana football coaching staff as defensive coordinator, SLU head coach Frank Scelfo announced Monday.

Guidry’s hire is pending approval of the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors. Guidry replaces Louie Cioffi, who is now the linebackers coach for the Atlanta Legends of the new Alliance of American Football.

Guidry comes to Hammond after spending the past six seasons at Southland Conference rival McNeese — the last three as head coach of the Cowboys. All told, Guidry spent 12 seasons in Lake Charles, during which McNeese compiled a 98-45 overall record, including a 60-24 mark in Southland Conference play.

During his most recent stint in Lake Charles, he mentored Southland Defensive Players of the Year BJ Blunt (2018) and Wallace Scott (2015).

Guidry has been a part of McNeese staffs that helped the Cowboys to four Southland Conference championships and six appearances in the FCS playoffs, including a trip to the 2002 FCS championship game. A 6-5 finish in 2018 extended the team’s consecutive streak of winning seasons to 14.

Guidry’s experience in the Southland Conference dates back to his playing days with the Cowboys. A 1995 McNeese graduate and two-time all-conference strong safety, Guidry helped McNeese to a pair of conference titles and playoff appearances during his collegiate career.

“We’re very fortunate to add a coach of Lance Guidry’s caliber to our program,” Scelfo said. “With his success as a head coach, coordinator and player in our league, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knows the Southland Conference better than Lance.

“It’s evident when we played McNeese and when we watched them on tape, that his players loved playing for Coach Guidry,” Scelfo added. “His guys play hard on every snap and its due to the culture that Coach Guidry has been a part of cultivating there. We’re excited that Coach Guidry is a Lion.”

Guidry’s Louisiana roots run deep, as the Lions’ new defensive coordinator is a graduate of Welsh High School and has 20 seasons of experience coaching in the Pelican State. In addition to his 12 seasons at McNeese, Guidry’s coaching career also features stops at Leesville and Carencro High School.

“When I took the job at Southeastern, I said we were going to start in Louisiana to build our program,” Scelfo said. “We’re committed to that promise and we’re fortunate to add another coach with such strong Louisiana ties to our staff.”

Guidry is excited for the opportunity at Southeastern.

“It always feels nice to be wanted and he was the first one to reach out when I became available," Guidry said. "When I came back into the Southland Conference (in 2013), Southeastern was starting its run of back-to-back championships and had an excellent defense. I’m excited to have the chance to get the defense back to that championship level."

In recent seasons, Guidry has overseen dominant defenses consistently, highlighted by his units in both the 2015 and 2017 seasons. His 2017 Cowboys led the nation and set a new Southland record with 54.5 rushing yards per game allowed — the seventh-lowest average allowed in FCS history.

Guidry’s 2017 McNeese defense propelled the Cowboys to a 9-2 record, ranking in the top 10 nationally in third-down conversion defense (23.8 percent, 1st), first downs allowed (150, 2nd), defensive touchdowns (5, 3rd), total defense (262.5 ypg, 5th), red zone defense (63.0 percent, 6th), turnovers forced (26, 6th), interceptions (16, 7th) and tackles for loss per game (8.2, 9th).

That season the Cowboys held five teams without an offensive touchdown, including Southeastern in a 13-3 McNeese victory in Lake Charles. That year’s Lions’ offense averaged 428.1 total yards, 283.1 rushing yards and 34.8 points per game.

In 2015, McNeese won the Southland Conference title and finished with a perfect regular season record thanks in large part to a dominant defense. Guidry’s charges ranked 12th in the nation in total defense, third in scoring defense and fourth in rushing defense.

Prior to his most recent stint at McNeese, Guidry was the defensive coordinator for two seasons at Western Kentucky and served as the interim coach for the Hilltoppers in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - the program’s first-ever bowl appearance.

At WKU, he coached three NFL draft picks in defensive end Quanterous Smith, linebacker Andrew Jackson and safety Jonathan Dowling. His 2012 defense led the Sun Belt Conference in total defense, sacks, pass defense efficiency and first downs allowed.

Before coaching at Western Kentucky, he was defensive backs coach at Miami (Ohio) for two seasons. The 2010 Redhawks were 10-4 and won, 35-21, over Middle Tennessee in the Bowl with Guidry serving as interim head coach.

Guidry and his wife, Starlet, are the parents of Janzen, Madison, Alexis and Kaitlyn, and the grandparents of Ethan and Kash. 

Southeastern will open 2019 preparations with spring practice starting March 12. The annual Spring Game is scheduled for April 13 at 2 p.m.