Samuel Lawanson joined the Sacramento State coaching staff in June 2014. After two seasons coaching the Hornet running backs, Lawanson was named the team's defensive coordinator in Febraury 2016.
Lawanson returned to coaching the team's linebackers in 2017 while continuing to coordinate the defense. The Hornets responded by leading the FCS and setting the school Div. I-era record with 43 sacks. Sacamento State also created 23 takeways and led the Big Sky and ranked fourth nationally in third-down defense. Three defensive players were named to the all-Big Sky first team comprised of defensive ends Ben Sorenson and George Obinna and safety Mister Harriel. Sorenson went on to earn third team All-America honors from the Associated Press after finishing the year with 12.5 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks in 10 games. Harriel led the team with 87 tackles and added three interceptions. Overall, eight defensive players earned all-Big Sky recognition following the season.
In 2016, Lawanson also coached the Hornet safeties. Manny Scott-Anderson led the team with 107 tackles, including 2.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack, an interception and a pair of fumble recoveries.
During his first season with the team (2015), Lawanson coached Jordan Robinson to honorable mention all-Big Sky honors. Robinson was a key component to Sacramento State's record breaking offense, rushing for 862 yards and five touchdowns as well as catching 30 passes for 236 yards and four TDs.
Robinson was again recognized by the Big Sky coaches in 2015 as he earned honorable mention for the second consecutive season. That year, he was the team's leading rusher with 172 attempts for 809 yards and four touchdowns.
Lawanson has coached on both sides of the ball during his career. Most recently, he was the manager of player development in 2013 and the defensive quality control coach in 2012 at Arizona State. Lawanson began his collegiate coaching career in 1999 as the running backs coach at Cal Poly. After two seasons, he moved to the University of Tulsa where he coached linebackers from 2000-2002 and the secondary in 2003.
From May of 2004 through February of 2012, Lawanson was a defensive coordinator for three high schools in Texas. He was the co-defensive coordinator at Hillcrest in Dallas from 2004-05. He then took the reigns of the defense at Haltom HS for the 2006 season before moving to John Horn HS in Mesquite (2007-2011). During the 2010 season, he helped guide the team to a berth in the quarterfinals of the state 5A playoffs and a final ranking on 20th in the state.
Lawanson was a two-year starter at outside linebacker at San Diego State in 1995 and 1996. He was an honorable mention all-WAC selection following his junior season. Prior to attending SDSU, he played two years at Fresno City College.
He and his wife, Beth, are the parents to Treyger, Sam and Arianna.
Recruiting Area: All high schools and junior colleges in the East Bay and San Diego.