By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — Dean Hood is back in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The University of Kentucky assistant football coach was officially named head coach at Murray State University on Friday, ending a week of speculation that he would be joining the Racers as head coach. He is expected to be introduced as Murray State’s 19th head coach in a press conference at 2 p.m. Saturday at Murray State.
Hood has been at Kentucky for the past three seasons with the Wildcats following an eight-year stint as head coach at Eastern Kentucky University, where he compiled a record of 44-19 in the OVC. He guided the Colonels to two conference championships and three appearances in the FCS Playoffs.
Hood has been the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at Kentucky for the past three years and helped guide the Wildcats to three consecutive postseason appearances.
“I’m very happy for Dean to be named head coach at Murray State,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “I had great respect for Dean when he joined our staff, and that respect has continued to grow. He is a seasoned veteran whose work as special teams coordinator and defensive coach has been a big part of our success. I wish him the best in this next chapter of his career.”
Prior to joining Jim Grobe’s staff at Wake Forest and Ohio University, he served under retired Eastern Kentucky coach Roy Kidd from 1994-98 and helped guide Eastern to a pair of conference championships and two FCS appearances.
“Murray State University is getting a great one,” Kidd said. “Coach Hood is smart, he knows the game and the team will enjoy playing for him. More than getting a high-quality football coach, you got a good person who will teach the student-athletes about more than just football.”
Like Kidd, Grobe praised the Hodd’s hiring at Murray State.
“What a fantastic choice to lead the Racer football program,” he said. “Dean Hood is one of the finest football coaches I have worked with. He is not only a great football coach but one of the best in terms of character and integrity. I can’t think of anyone better suited to guide young men both on and off the field. He will win a bunch of games and do it the right way. Parents will be blessed to have their kids play for coach Hood and the Racers.”
Former Eastern player Allan Holland, now the head coach at Pikeville, said playing for Hood was “an unbelievable experience.”
“He pushed me to the next level of working hard and wouldn’t let me settle,” Holland said. “He’s won at every level he has coached. He’s a great coach and even better person. Passion, purpose and family is what Dean Hood is about.”
Murray State athletics director Kevin Saal said Hood’s knowledge and experience will help “advance our football program.”
“I look forward to partnering with him to accomplish our shared vision for the program — to develop leaders of character, competence and consequence, for football and 40-plus years of life beyond football,” he said. “Murray State University is honored to welcome Dean, Crystal, Trey, Daven, Jada and Cordia to their new home in Murray.”
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Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.