Football coach Sean Lewis had COVID-19 during the preseason

Kent State football coach Sean Lewis.

Kent State football coach Sean Lewis tested positive for COVID-19 during the preseason.

During a press conference with the media today, Lewis, the youngest football coach in the FBS, disclosed that he was ill with the coronavirus “about a month ago.”

Lewis recused himself from participation at practice while he recovered, and he praised the rest of his coaching staff for how they filled in for his absence.

“Our staff did a tremendous job,” he said. “I was down, others stepped up. We ask that out of our kids all of the time. They did a great job. Guys rose to the occasion, and we were able to continue to go forward. … We’ll continue to go through these challenges and adversities in this manner, and I know we’ll come through it the right way.”

Several members of the coaching staff and team tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the preseason, but it seems as though any outbreak wider than a few individuals has been avoided.

“We’ve had some guys who have been down for 10 days because they tested positive [for COVID-19], and their roommates 14 days because of contact tracing. That’s impacted some various position rooms through all of preseason camp,” Lewis said. “Going into it we kind of knew that was going to happen. We made the necessary changes as a staff to get smart work in, and the kids responded great to all of those various events.”

The Mid-American Conference’s COVID-19 protocols include a threshold of positive cases at which team operations are suspended.

It does not appear Kent State has approached that threshold at any point.

“As far as where we’re at with the MAC protocols that they outlined, we’ve stayed in the green consistently through all of this,” Lewis said.

The names of individuals who tested positive, including players who may be missing games currently, were not shared to protect their privacy.

After dealing with COVID-19 personally, Lewis strongly reiterated the need to follow university and state safety protocols.

“Follow the guidelines, wear your mask, keep your social distancing. Take time for yourselves and be smart. Take care of others, and if you don’t feel well stay home,” Lewis said.

Kent State is set to play at Bowling Green on Tuesday, Nov. 10. It will not be clear until game time which players have recovered and been cleared from COVID-19 after missing the season opener this week.

Owen MacMillan is a sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.