RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University introduced Dean Hood, former Wake Forest and Eastern Kentucky defensive coordinator, as the 13th head coach of the Colonel football program Tuesday afternoon in O’Donnell Hall, Student Services Building Auditorium.
Hood, 44, joins EKU after working at Wake Forest University for the past seven seasons. Under Hood’s direction, the Wake Forest defense was known for creating turnovers and scoring touchdowns. The Demon Deacons forced 186 turnovers from 2001-07, more than two per game. Last fall, Wake Forest led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 35 turnovers forced on its way to going 9-4 and capturing the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
“When we began this search, we identified several characteristics that we sought in our next head coach,” EKU Director of Athletics Mark Sandy said. “Dean Hood is a wonderful blend of those ideals; great teacher, excellent recruiter, a person of high character, and someone who has been part of the EKU football heritage.”
“We are very excited to be back,” Hood said. “My wife is from here and we are happy to have our kids near her family. I am looking forward to the challenge of being a head coach. As you progress in this profession, you always think about doing things your own way. This is a chance to implement those thoughts.”
From 1994-98, Hood spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky under College Football Hall of Fame coach Roy Kidd. He served all five years as the secondary coach and the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator. In Hood’s first stint at EKU, the Colonels captured two Ohio Valley Conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs three times.
“We were fortunate to have a field of candidates, identified by Mark Sandy, who were men of character and proven coaching ability,” Eastern Kentucky University President Dr. Doug Whitlock said. “I concurred in Mark’s recommendation that Dean Hood was the best positioned to lead our football program.
“This was a big deal for me,” Whitlock continued. “I have been an Eastern football fan for almost 50 years; so I wanted us to find someone who would fit in with the community, had the kind of values that our football program has traditionally been built upon, and hopefully had been a part of the EKU football tradition. And, yes, we wanted someone who has been and will be a winner. Dean Hood fills all those particulars.”
At Wake Forest, Hood and the rest of the Demon Deacons broke every program record imaginable in 2006 and set many other milestones. WFU won the ACC title for the first time since 1970 by shattering the program record with 11 victories. The Demon Deacons earned a berth in a BCS bowl game, taking on Louisville in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Much of the credit for Wake Forest’s 2006 league championship fell to the defense. The Demon Deacons allowed just 15.4 ppg to rank second in the ACC and 21st nationally. Against the run, Wake yielded just 105.8 yards per game to rank 21st nationally, the third lowest total in Wake Forest history. Against the pass, the Demon Deacons recorded 22 interceptions, second most in the nation.
Hood’s defenders earned All-ACC mention 14 times. That list includes four NFL draft picks – Calvin Pace, Montique Sharpe, Eric King and Josh Gattis.
Hood entered the collegiate coaching ranks as an assistant at Fairmont (W.Va.) State College, where he worked with the defensive backs during the 1987 and 1988 seasons. The 1988 team won the WVIAC championship and led the nation with 31 interceptions. Hood then spent the 1989 campaign at Colgate University.
From 1990-93, Hood coached at Glenville (W.Va.) State College, the last three of which he served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. In 1993, Glenville finished 10-3 and advanced to the NAIA Division I championship game. Also that year, Hood’s defense led the nation in scoring defense (9.2 ppg), passing defense (118.0 ypg), and total defense (223.0 ypg).
Hood moved to Ohio University for two years (1999-2000) where he met current Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe. At Ohio, Hood was in charge of the defensive backs. That unit recorded 17 interceptions in 1999, the most in more than a decade. The following year, Ohio ranked 20th nationally in scoring defense (18.9 points per game) as the Bobcat defense was one of only five units in Division I-A that did not allow more than 30 points in a game throughout the entire season.
This will be Hood’s first head coaching position and just the third EKU head football coach in the last 44 years.
“Knowing first-hand what Coach Kidd built here, this is one of the best jobs in the country,” Hood said. “I remember when I was here the first time thinking how many guys in the history of athletics are still coaching in a facility named after them. That is rare. It is exciting to be at the helm of this program.”
“Dean will be a tremendous role model for our student-athletes,” Sandy said. “He has worked with two of the best people who have ever served as mentors for young men – Roy Kidd and Jim Grobe. I am sure our current players, recruits, and fans will be impressed.”
Hood was a three-time All-North Coast Athletic Conference selection during his playing days at Ohio Wesleyan University. He was also named a first team All-American defensive back during his senior year and served as team captain his final two seasons. The native of Ashtabula, Ohio, was inducted into the OWU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Hood graduated from Ohio Wesleyan in 1986 with a degree in biology. He went on to earn a master’s in physical education from West Virginia University in 1989.
Hood is married to the former Crystal Ramsey of Richmond, Ky. The couple has four children – two sons, Ralph Trey and Daven, and two daughters, Jada and Cordia.