At the conclusion of Thursday's Eastern Kentucky University football practice, Head Coach Dean Hood was presented with the highest civilian honor the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky can bestow, the title of Kentucky Colonel.
Garry Gupton, Executive Director of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, was on hand to present Hood with a certificate from Governor Steve Beshear recognizing Hood as a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. The head coach of the Colonels, is now an official Colonel.
Every year, The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, utilizing contributions from individual Colonels from all over the world, provides financial support to Kentucky charitable and educational institutions and organizations. The funds have been utilized for the purchase of wheelchairs for muscular dystrophy victims, for purchasing eyeglasses for the needy and for a multitude of causes far too numerous to list.
Many are not aware of the connection between the Kentucky Colonel and the Eastern Kentucky University Colonel. EKU athletic teams were known as the Maroons until 1966. In 1963, university President Robert Martin was at a loss as to how he could create a physical “Maroon” to excite the audience. A man of vision and intelligence, Martin began searching for a mascot that would embody the glorious Bluegrass State. He found it in the honorable Kentucky Colonel. Like Minutemen of Massachusetts and Sooners of Oklahoma, the Kentucky breed of Colonel was a unique symbol of the state and so Martin selected it to accompany the school color as Eastern’s mascot.