‘Feels like home’ as Hood rejoins UK staff in player development role

Published 4:42 pm Thursday, January 4, 2024

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Dean Hood is returning to Kentucky.

After retiring as coach at Murray State Tuesday, Hood rejoined the Kentucky coaching staff and was named the team’s director of player development. He will work alongside Eddie Gran, also a former Wildcats assistant coach in the “40 for 40” program. He will help Gran develop NIL opportunities and player branding along with coordinating community service opportunities.

“I’m extremely pleased to have Dean Hood rejoin our staff,” Kentucky coach Mark 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.”

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Hood, who spent 37 years in the coaching profession before announcing his retirement, is looking forward to returning to Kentucky.

“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.”

He’s also anxious to begin his new venture.

“We are so honored, once again, to be part of Coach (Mark) Stoops’ program which is comprised of many wonderful people,” he said. “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.”

Hood, a former assistant coach with the Wildcats, who has spent the past three seasons as head coach at Murray State, where he was named Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2020. He led the Racers to their first win in the Missouri Valley Conference. He also served as head coach at Eastern Kentucky University from 2008-15 and led the Colonels to two titles and three FCS playoff appearances.

Hood and his wife, Crystal, originally from Richmond, have four children — two sons, Trey and Daven, and two daughters, Jada and Cordia.