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On January 16, 2009, Alonzo Lee, Sr., became the 17th head coach in the history of North Carolina A&T football. Lee brings with him a reputation for putting together the fiercest and stingiest defenses in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
Over his career, Lee has proven that defense does indeed win championships. Lee has won seven MEAC Championships at four different schools over his 27-year coaching career. At two of those schools - North Carolina A&T and Hampton - Lee served as the defensive coordinator. In five out of the last 13 seasons, Lee's defenses have led the MEAC in total defense.
Lee is making his second stint with the Aggies. In his first season as the Aggies head coach, the football program made a remarkable turnaround. The Aggies won more games in 2009 than they had won in their previous three seasons combined. The same held true in conference play where the Aggies won one more MEAC game - three - than they won over the prior three.
The defense also made measurable improvements. In 2009, the Aggies improved in every major defensive category in the MEAC from 2008. The Aggies ranked ninth in total defense, ninth in rushing defense, eighth in scoring defense and sixth in passing defense. Under Lee in '09, the Aggies catapulted to fifth in total defense, fifth in rushing defense, fourth in scoring defense and third in passing defense.
The strides under Lee are not coincidental. Soon after accepting the Aggies head coaching position, Lee and his staff instituted a philosophy where everyone must believe in themselves, each other and the leadership. It resulted in the Aggies placing two players on MEAC's all conference team for the first time in five seasons. In addition, Mike Mayhew was named MEAC Rookie of the Year, capping what could only be seen as a positive first step in the Lee era at N.C. A&T.
Before returning to N.C. A&T, Lee was the defensive coordinator at Morgan State University for three seasons. The Bears made significant strides as a defensive unit under his leadership.
Over the last two seasons, MSU not only finished No. 1 in the conference in total defense, but the Bears also showcased one of the best defenses in Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA). In 2008, the Bears led the nation in total defense a year after finishing No. 2 in the country in total defense.
In 2007, the Bears led the nation in pass defense, and followed that performance by finishing No.2 nationally in pass defense in 2008. No team gained more than 350 yards of offense against the Bears in Lee's final two seasons there.
Lee's first stint at North Carolina A&T occurred from 2003-05 as the Aggies defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. In 2003, North Carolina A&T finished as the league's No. 1 defense, and ranked in the top 15 nationally in: total defense (3rd), pass defense (3rd), turnovers gained (6th) and scoring defense (15th). During his last season, the Aggies ranked 3rd in pass defense, 4th in sacks and 4th in not allowing their opponents to convert third downs.
Prior to working at North Carolina A&T, Lee spent six years at Howard as its assistant head coach. In 1987 Lee helped the Bison win the MEAC Championship. Following his time at Howard, Lee spent eight years at Florida A&M where he was responsible for coaching linebackers his first four years. For the remainder of his time he coached defensive backs, handled the strength and conditioning coaching duties and served as the special teams coordinator. During his time with the Rattlers, the school won three MEAC Championships.
Lee became Hampton's defensive coordinator in 1997. In six seasons, Hampton won two MEAC Championships (1997, 1998). The Pirates led the conference in total defense in 1997. A year later, the Pirates finished second in the conference in total defense, while finishing at the top of the conference in rushing defense.
Lee maintains a reputation as an outstanding coach and as a man of exceptional leadership capabilities. In 1998, Lee was honored as the National Assistant Coach of the Year for NCAA Division I-AA Football. In 2001, he was honored by the All-America Football Foundation as an Outstanding Assistant Coach.
During his first stint at N.C. A&T, Lee started a gospel choir comprised of Aggie football players that performed for church groups and other community organizations in Greensboro. A native of Washington, DC, Lee graduated from Dunbar Senior High School in Washington, DC.
In 1977, Lee joined current Florida A&M head coach Joe Taylor at Eastern Illinois University, where he played in two NCAA Division II National Championship games, winning one in 1978. He was a three-year captain and led the team in tackles his senior season and was selected as All-American in the same season.
He graduated from Eastern Illinois with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation in 1982. Born January 15, 1958, Lee and his wife, Severia, have four sons, Alonzo Jr., Vernon, Joshua and Jamil. Lee also has a daughter, Lacretia Lee Simon.