Dean Hood Named Director of Player Development
University of Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops has announced the hiring of Dean Hood to serve as the Wildcats’ director of player development. Hood returns to UK after serving the last four seasons as the head football coach at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.
Hood, who spent three seasons on Stoops’ staff as the special teams coordinator while also coaching outside linebackers (2017) and defensive backs (2018-19), announced his retirement from coaching on Jan. 1, completing a coaching career that spanned 37 years.
“I’m extremely pleased to have Dean Hood rejoin our staff,” Stoops said. “When he was here previously, I grew a deep respect for him – not only as a coach on the field, but also for the way he guided and grew his players as young men. He will be a great asset to our overall program and to the personal development of our players.”
In his new role, Hood will help prepare student-athletes for personal, academic and athletic development success through UK’s “40 for 40” program and he will work alongside special assistant to the head coach Eddie Gran with NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) and player branding as well as community service opportunities.
“My family and I are excited to return to Big Blue Nation,” Hood said. “Being in the coaching profession we have lived in a lot of places, but when our kids are asked ‘where are you from’ they say ‘Lexington’ — it definitely feels like home to our family.
“We are so honored, once again, to be part of Coach Stoops’ program which is comprised of many wonderful people. Player development has been my passion and life’s work and I am ready to build relationships with our players and help them in multiple areas of their life. Coaching for 37 years has given me a unique perspective into the needs of student-athletes and coaches, who have an incredible demand on their time. I’m looking forward to the journey.”
During his previous stint at UK, Hood was an integral part of Max Duffy winning the Ray Guy Award for the nation’s best punter in 2019. He also coached in three bowl games, including two bowl wins with the Wildcats.
At Murray State, Hood led the Racers to back-to-back winning seasons in 2020 and 2021, marking just the third time the program had accomplished that feat since 1999-2000. When the 2020 season was pushed to early 2021, Hood’s Racers produced one of the best turnarounds in the nation with a 5-2 record, MSU’s first winning season since 2011 and the program’s best Ohio Valley Conference record since 2005. Coach Hood was named the 2020 OVC Coach of the Year, becoming the fourth in Murray State history to be honored.
In 2023, Hood and the Racers began play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the most competitive league at the FCS level. MSU defeated Presbyterian 41-10 (Sept. 2) for their 1,000th win and won their inaugural MVFC game over Indiana State, 30-28, on Sept. 30.
Hood spent the 2016 season as the assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Charlotte. Prior to that, he was the head coach at EKU (2008-15), leading the Colonels to two Ohio Valley Conference Championships, three FCS Playoff appearances and an overall record of 55-38 (.591). In 2008 he was named the OVC Coach of the Year and in 2011 he was the American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year. He also was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which goes to the best coach in FCS football, in both the 2008 and 2014 seasons.
With Hood at the helm, EKU produced nine All-Americans, one OVC Offensive Player of the Year, one OVC Defensive Player of the Year, one OVC Freshman of the Year and 26 first-team all-conference performers.
Before EKU, Hood spent seven years (2001-07) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Wake Forest and his defensive units were known for creating turnovers and scoring touchdowns. The Demon Deacons forced 186 turnovers during his tenure, more than two per game. Hood’s defenders earned All-ACC mention 14 times. That list included four NFL draft picks – Calvin Pace, Montique Sharpe, Eric King and Josh Gattis.
In 2006, Hood helped the Demon Deacons win the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship for the first time since 1970 with an impressive 11-3 record (the most wins in school history). His defense ranked second in the conference, allowing just 15.4 points per game, while leading the league in interceptions with 22, second most in the nation. Against the run, Wake yielded just 105.8 yards per game, 21st nationally and the third lowest total in Wake Forest history. Wake Forest earned its first and only BCS Bowl bid, facing Louisville in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Hood’s first coaching stop was at Fairmont (W.Va.) State working with the defensive backs (1987-88). The 1988 team won the WVIAC championship and led the nation with 31 interceptions. He then spent time at Colgate (1989), Glenville (W.Va.) State (1990-93) and Ohio University (1999-2000).
He also had a previous five-year stint at EKU as the Colonels’ secondary coach (1994-96) and defensive coordinator/secondary coach (1997-98) under College Football Hall of Fame head coach Roy Kidd.
Hood, a native of Ashtabula, Ohio, earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Ohio Wesleyan in 1986 and a master’s degree in physical education from West Virginia in 1989.
At Ohio Wesleyan, he was a three-time All-North Coast Athletic Conference selection as a defensive back. He was elected captain two seasons and was a first-team All-American as a senior. In 2001, he was inducted into the OWU Athletic Hall of Fame.
He and his wife, Crystal, originally from Richmond, Kentucky, have four children – two sons, Trey and Daven, and two daughters, Jada and Cordia.
Dean Hood’s Coaching Career
|Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Backs
|2018 Citrus Bowl, 2019 Belk Bowl
|Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
|2017 Music City Bowl
|Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
|2008 FCS Playoffs, OVC Champs
2011 FCS Playoffs, OVC Co-Champs
2014 FCS Playoffs
|Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
|2002 Seattle Bowl
2006 Orange Bowl, ACC Champs
2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl
|Defensive Coordinator/ Secondary Coach
|1997 FCS Playoffs, OVC Champs
|1994 FCS Playoffs, OVC Champs
1995 FCS Playoffs
|Glenville State (W.Va.)
|Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach
|1993 NAIA Runner-up
|Assistant Secondary Coach
|1988 NAIA Playoffs, WVIAC Champs
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