Murray State names Dean Hood head football coach

Hood starting coaching Kentucky’s special teams in 2017, head coach at EKU for eight seasons


MURRAY, KY (Murray State Athletics) – Murray State University President, Dr. Bob Jackson and Director of Athletics Kevin Saal, introduced Dean Hood as the new Head Coach for the Murray State University Football program. Dean Hood, Murray State University’s 19th Head Coach, was introduced in front of faculty, staff, regents; campus and community friends and supporters at beautiful Heritage Hall, on the campus of Murray State University, in Murray, Kentucky.

Coach Hood brings with him an intense desire to lead a storied program and a wealth of experience building highly-successful football programs at both the NCAA Division I FBS & FCS level throughout his 30-year career. Murray State gains a proficient leader on the field, a proven winner with an eight-year tenure in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and multiple stops as an FBS-level coordinator (Kentucky & Wake Forest). Just as important, Coach Hood brings with him a whole-person development program, focused on developing student-athletes as students, persons, players and eventual professionals, paving the way for life-success beyond graduation and football.

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Currently, Hood is special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at Kentucky. During his time in Lexington, the Wildcats accomplished one of the program’s most successful three-year stints, to include three consecutive bowl games and a 10-win season in 2018, just the fourth in program history.

As head coach at Eastern Kentucky from 2008-15, Coach Hood was the winningest coach in the OVC with a record of 44-19 (.698) in eight seasons, including three FCS playoff appearances and a pair of OVC championships. EKU produced 10 All-Americans, two OVC Players of the Year and one OVC Freshman of the Year. Additionally, Coach Hood mentored 26 first-team all-conference performers and multiple players who advanced to the National Football League. In Hood’s eight seasons as head coach at EKU, the program performed well academically, producing 18 OVC Academic Medal of Honor winners. In his first two stints as an assistant coach at EKU (1994-96 & 1997-98), Hood worked under legendary coach Roy Kidd, helping guide EKU to two OVC championships and two FCS Tournament appearances.

Hood also led a highly-effective, nation-best defensive unit for seven seasons at Wake Forest (2001-07), earning the school’s first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 36 years. He began his career at Fairmont (W.Va.) in 1987 and experienced stops with Colgate (1989), Glenville State (W.Va.) (1990-93), Ohio (1999-00) and Charlotte (2016).

In total, Coach Hood has participated in six post-season bowl games at the FBS level and eight post-seasons at previous FCS/NAIA stops. Murray State is gaining a winning coach who knows the OVC, but also a developer of men, keenly focused on whole-person development of young people as they prepare for their next forty years of life.

“We are very excited about Coach Dean Hood, his wife Crystal, and their children joining our Racer Family,” Murray State University President Dr. Bob Jackson said. “Coach Hood has a wealth of experience, is a seasoned coach and mentor to his student-athletes and has the required integrity, vision and enthusiasm to assist us in taking our football program to a new level. Coach Hood understands the needs of our program and the importance of our student-athletes being successful in the classroom, on the field and in life.”

“Dean Hood is a man of character and integrity who possesses a tremendous work ethic and unique ability to advance our football program,” said Kevin Saal, Director of Athletics. “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+ years of life beyond football. Murray State University is honored to welcome Dean, Crystal, Trey, Daven, Jada and Cordia to their new home in Murray; a community that I know welcomes the Hood Family with open arms, supporting hearts and a true passion for the future success of Racer Athletics.”
“I am thrilled with the hiring of Dean Hood as the next Head Football Coach at Murray State University,” said MSU Board of Regents member Eric Crigler and former Racer football student-athlete (1985-89). “Coach Dean Hood has been a successful Power 5 coordinator, championship-level head coach and has led thee teams to the FCS playoffs. He is familiar with our conference and the recruiting regions necessary to build teams that can compete for championships. I am enthusiastic about the direction of Murray State University, the Athletic department and Racer Football. What a great time to be a Racer!”

Dean Hood graduated in 1986 with a biology degree from Ohio Wesleyan and earned a master’s degree in physical education from West Virginia in 1989. Hood is a native of Ashtabula, Ohio.

Hood earned three All-North Coast Athletic Conference selections as defensive back at Ohio Wesleyan. Additionally, at Ohio Wesleyan, Hood was twice selected captain and in 2001 and was inducted into the Ohio Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Murray State University welcomes Dean and his wife, Crystal, their two sons, Trey and Daven, and daughters, Jada and Cordia, to the MSU family.

What they’re saying about Coach Dean Hood.

Mark Stoops – Kentucky Head Football Coach
“I’m very happy for Dean to be named head coach at Murray State. 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.”

Roy Kidd – Former Eastern Kentucky Head Coach
“Murray State University is getting a great one! 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.”

Jim Grobe – Former Head Football Coach at Ohio and Wake Forest
“What a fantastic choice to lead the Racer’s football program! 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.”

Beth DeBauche – Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner
“Given Coach Hood’s knowledge of the league, track record of conference success and commitment to teaching and developing student-athletes, we are delighted to welcome him back to the OVC.”

Allan Holland – Pikeville Head Coach
“Coach Dean Hood has been a great mentor to me not only as a player, but as a coach as well! Playing for Coach Hood was an unbelievable experience. He pushed me to the next level of working hard and wouldn’t let me settle. 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. He knows how to coach and care for his players; he has done a great job developing high character young men to be successful on and off the field. Murray State is not only getting a great coach but a coach that takes pride in the tremendous sense of loyalty he exhibits to his players, staff and university as a whole. He is a true professional and his players will run through a wall for him!”

Dane Damron – UVA Wise Head Football Coach
“Dean Hood is one of the best men I know; he also is a heck of a football coach. Every day he will work to better his players and will hold them accountable to becoming better men. Dean will do a great job at Murray State.”

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas