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Murray State names Dean Hood football head coach; brings 30 years of college coaching experience


Murray State University has named Dean Hood as the head coach for the Racers football program.

Hood, Murray State’s 19th head coach, was introduced in front of faculty, staff, regents, community friends and supporters at Heritage Hall. He brings with him an intense desire to lead a storied program and a wealth of experience building successful football programs at both the NCAA Division I FBS and 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 and multiple stops as an FBS-level coordinator (Kentucky and Wake Forest). Just as important, 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.

Hood is currently 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.

Dean Hood

As head coach at Eastern Kentucky from 2008-15, 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, 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.

“We are very excited about Coach Dean Hood, his wife Crystal, and their children joining our Racer Family,” Murray State 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, a former Racer football student-athlete (1985-89). “Coach Dean Hood has been a successful Power 5 coordinator, championship-level head coach and has led three 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.”

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 Athletic Hall of Fame.

From Murray State University


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