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After ending season on down note, Eastern Kentucky dismisses head football coach Dean Hood


Eastern Kentucky University has relieved Dean Hood of his duties as head football coach, Director of Athletics Steve Lochmueller announced Monday.

“I want to thank Dean for his service to Eastern Kentucky University,” Lochmueller said. “These decisions are never taken lightly. After a careful review of our football program, I feel a change in leadership is needed.”

Hood compiled a record of 55-38 in eight seasons as head coach. The 2015 squad finished 6-5 and in fourth place in the OVC with a 5-3 mark.

EKU coach Dean Hood compiled a record of 55-38 in eight seasons as head coach.  The 2015 squad finished 6-5 and in fourth place in the OVC with a 5-3 mark (EKU Athletics Photo)

EKU coach Dean Hood compiled a record of 55-38 in eight seasons as head coach. The 2015 squad finished 6-5 and in fourth place in the OVC with a 5-3 mark (EKU Athletics Photo)

A national search for Eastern Kentucky’s next head football coach will begin immediately.

EKU won five of its first seven games. Included in that run was a close 34-27 loss to Kentucky in overtime. But the Colonels dropped three of their final four contests, including 21-7 defeat at Eastern Illinois in the season finale.

EKU drops final game of season to Eastern Illinois

EKU avoided being shutout when LaJuan Smith blocked a punt and senior Tyrell Curry picked up the ball and ran 35 yards for the touchdown.

Eastern Illinois (7-4, 7-1 OVC) broke a scoreless tie late in the second quarter. On 2nd-and-7 from EKU 47 yard line, Malik Harrison broke loose for a 34-yard run. Two plays later, quarterback Jalen Whitlow put it in the end zone from nine yards out by beating the defense to the pylon on a run to the left.

A 62-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Nick Horne with 12:56 left in the third quarter gave the Panthers all they would need. Back-up quarterback Kyle Romano was sacked on the play at the EIU 38 yard line. Horne scooped it up and took it to the house to put the home team in front 14-0.

EKU turned the ball over seven times, while the Panthers did not have a turnover.

Eastern Kentucky’s Bennie Coney completed 9-of-17 passes for 54 yards before leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury. Ethan Thomas carried the ball 11 times for a team-high 40 yards. Senior tight end Ben Madon hauled in six passes for 52 yards.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Swafford went 10-for-24 for 99 yards in relief.

Eastern Illinois ran for 168 yards. Harrison finished with 79 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. EIU held a 240 to 193 advantage in total yards.

NOTES

– Eastern Kentucky is ranked No. 23 in the STATS.com Poll and receiving votes in the FCS coaches poll. Eastern Illinois is receiving votes in both polls.

– With his seventh completion of the game, a 1-yard catch by Ethan Thomas in the second quarter, Bennie Coney broke the EKU single season record for completions. Josh Greco held the record of 222 in 2005.

– Senior defensive lineman Bryce Krebs started every game for EKU the last four years. With Saturday’s game at Eastern Illinois, Krebs started 47 straight contests.

– Noah Spence entered the game leading the nation with 2.3 tackles for a loss per game. He was leading the OVC and third in FCS with 1.15 sacks per game. He did not have a sack or a tackle for a loss.

From EKU Athletics


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