By EVAN NICHOLS
Just over a day removed from a 21-7 loss to Eastern Illinois, Dean Hood was fired Monday as head coach of the Eastern football team.
Eastern Director of Athletics Steve Lochmueller made the announcement on behalf of the university.
“I want to thank Dean for his service to Eastern Kentucky University,” Lochmueller said. “These decisions are never taken lightly. After a careful review of our football program, I feel a change in leadership is needed.”
Eastern was picked by Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) media members to finish second in the conference, just behind Jacksonville State. The Colonels returned a host of starters on both offense and defense from a campaign a season ago that ended in a 9-4 record and a first-round playoff loss to Indiana State.
In 2015, Eastern ended its regular season fourth in the conference with a 6-5 record, going 5-3 in OVC play. The Colonels suffered losses to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams N.C. State (7-4, 3-4 ACC) and Kentucky (5-6, 2-6 SEC), as well as three losses to the three teams that finished ahead of Eastern in the final conference standings: Jacksonville State (10-1, 8-0 OVC), Eastern Illinois (7-4, 7-1 OVC) and U.T. Martin (7-4, 6-2 OVC).
Hood finished his tenure as head coach at Eastern with a 55-38 career record. Under Hood’s guidance, Eastern made three FCS playoff appearances (2008, 2011, 2014), but didn’t get past the first round of games in any of the tournaments.
Hood came to Eastern in 2008 after seven seasons as an assistant at Wake Forest. Hood also spent five seasons (1994-1998) as an assistant at Eastern under Hall of Fame Head Coach Roy Kidd.
Lochmueller said it will begin a “national search” for Eastern’s next head coach immediately.