PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Eastern Kentucky University football head coach Dean Hood was named one of 20 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award as announced by The Sports Network Monday afternoon. The Robinson Award, named for the legendary former Grambling coach, has been given annually by The Sports Network to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national coach of the year since 1987.
In his first year at Eastern, Hood helped guide the Colonels to their second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championship. Eastern Kentucky began the year 1-3, but rallied to win its final seven regular season games to claim the program’s 20th league title. The Colonels lead the OVC in scoring defense (21.6 ppg) and rank among the top-five nationally in turnover margin (+16). In the regular season finale at #18 UT Martin on Nov. 22, EKU forced five turnovers and blocked the game-winning field goal as time expired for a dramatic 33-31 victory.
Hood, 45, came to Eastern Kentucky after spending seven seasons as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons won the 2006 ACC title and advanced to the program’s first-ever Bowl Championship Subdivision (BCS) bowl – the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl. From 1994-98, Hood spent five seasons as an assistant at EKU under College Football Hall of Fame coach Roy Kidd.
The other Robinson Award candidates are Mike Ayers of Wofford, Kerwin Bell of Jacksonville, Dick Biddle of Colgate, Clint Conque of Central Arkansas, Jack Cosgrove of Maine, Rich Ellerson of Cal Poly, Phil Estes of Brown, Mark Farley of Northern Iowa, Bob Ford of Albany, Henry Frazier of Prairie View, Bobby Hauck of Montana, Dale Lennon of Southern Illinois, Mickey Matthews of James Madison, Ron McBride of Weber State, Jerry Moore of Appalachian State, Buddy Pough of South Carolina State, Danny Rocco of Liberty, Andy Talley of Villanova and Joe Taylor of Florida A&M.
This year’s winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 18, at the 22nd annual Sports Network’s awards banquet to be held at the Marriott Hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn., the night before the NCAA Division I Football Championship game.
EKU (8-3, 7-1 OVC) begins the 2008 NCAA FCS playoffs this Saturday, Nov. 29 at Richmond (9-3, 6-2 CAA). Game time is set for 1 p.m.