Roy Kidd Stadium
With two national championships, 21 Ohio Valley Conference titles and 21 NCAA playoff appearances, the Eastern Kentucky University football program is accustomed to success.
Under Mark Elder’s guidance, the program returned to where it belongs in 2018 – seven wins, a top-3 conference finish and in the running for a spot in the playoffs.
After four straight top-25 rated recruiting classes re-stocked the Colonel roster with a talented young core, Elder saw player development efforts pay dividends on the field this past season.
Assistant Head Coach For Defense/Defensive Backs Coach
Joshua Reardon joined the Colonel football program in March of 2018 as assistant head coach for defense and defensive backs coach. In his first season, Reardon helped EKU to a 7-4 record and a third place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference. It is the most wins by a Colonel team since 2014.
Reardon’s defensive backs were a key part to the success in 2018. Eastern’s defense finished fifth in the nation with 19 interceptions, 14 more than in 2017. Defensive backs accumulated 17 of the 19 picks. The Colonels had four interceptions in their first three games and then picked off four passes in one game against Southeast Missouri.
As an entire unit, the defense was second in the OVC in points allowed per game and second in total defense. “Coach Reardon is an outstanding coach and teacher,” said Elder. “He has been very successful in leading disciplined and productive secondaries and is an outstanding addition to our staff.”
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Adam Austin joined the Colonel football program in January of 2019 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Over the past eight seasons, Austin helped Midwestern State University win four conference championships and make five appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Austin served as MSU’s quarterbacks coach in 2011 and 2012. In 2013 he became the team’s offensive coordinator, while continuing to oversee the quarterbacks.
“Adam has been a very successful play caller for a championship level program at Midwestern State,” Head Coach Mark Elder said. “He’s had a very balanced attack, utilizing his personnel to the best of his ability. He’s done a tremendous job of developing multiple quarterbacks and builds great relationships with his players. We’re very excited about the impact that he will have upon the football program here at EKU.”
Kurt Mattix was chosen as EKU’s defensive coordinator on Jan. 5, 2016.
In 2018, Mattix’s defense helped the Colonels finish 7-4 and in third place in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern was second in the conference in points allowed per game and finished second in the OVC in total defense. The Colonels also finished fifth in the nation with 19 interceptions, 12 more picks than the team recorded in 2017.
Three defensive players picked up All-OVC honors at the end of the season – Leodis Moore III (first team), Aaron Patrick (first team) and Cornelius Floyd (second team). Moore, Steven Crowder and Gavin Bryant earned OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors during the 2018 season and received honorable mention recognition for STATS National Defensive Player of the Week.
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Shannon Morrison joined the EKU football program as co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in January 2016.
Before the 2018 season, Morrison switched to coaching the linebackers. He helped the Colonels to a 7-4 record and a third place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Eastern defense finished second in the OVC in points allowed per game and was second in total defense.
Linebackers Steven Crowder and Gavin Bryant earned OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors during the 2018 season and received honorable mention recognition for STATS National Defensive Player of the Week.
Offensive Line Coach
Former Eastern Kentucky University head football coach Danny Hope returned to his alma mater as the program’s offensive line coach in February 2019.
“We’re very excited to have coach Hope return to EKU as our offensive line coach,” said Head Coach Mark Elder. “He brings an extraordinary amount of experience – both as a leader of men and as an offensive line coach. He will help our players continue to develop themselves as men, grow in their technique and will bring an edge of toughness to our offensive line. His experience will certainly help us on offense from the standpoint of putting together a game plan and leading a group on that side of the ball. His experience will be instrumental in helping us be successful.”
In five seasons as the Colonels’ head coach (2003-07), Hope posted a 35-22 overall record and a 32-8 mark against Ohio Valley Conference teams. In his final season, Eastern went 9-3 overall and 8-0 in the OVC on its way to the program’s 19th conference title. The 2007 Colonels clinched the program’s first Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff appearance in 10 years, helping Hope earn OVC Coach of the Year and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year accolades.
Running Backs Coach
Patrick Parrilli joined the EKU program as the offensive quality control coach in the summer of 2016. In the summer of 2018 he was promoted to running backs coach.
In his first season guiding the backs, two Colonels earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors in 2018. L.J. Scott ranked third in the conference with 780 rushing yards. He scored eight rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.2 yards per carry, ranking second and fifth in the league respectively in those categories. Daryl McCleskey Jr. was fifth in the OVC in rushing yards (651).
The stable of running backs under Parilli’s guidance helped EKU rush for 2,246 yards, 1,105 yards more than in 2017. The Colonels ranked second in the OVC and 26th in the nation in rushing offense. It was the highest rushing total for an Eastern team since 2014.
Offensive Quality Control
Tanner McCormick joined the EKU football program as an offensive quality control coach in the summer of 2018.
During the spring of 2018, McCormick was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. He also coached the punters and kickers.
McCormick worked at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia from 2015 to 2017. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach during the 2017 season after previously working as the offensive pass game coordinator, running backs and tight ends coach. He helped ABU capture the 2016 GMAC Championship.
Director of Football Sports Performance
Mark Naylor joined the EKU program as director of football sports performance in February 2018. He oversees the strength and conditioning, and sports performance needs of the football team.
In his first season, he helped the Colonels win seven games, the most in a season since 2014. The conditioning and mental strength of the team was highlighted by winning three games decided by seven points or less. EKU finished fifth in the nation in interceptions and rushed for 1,105 yards more than in 2017, finishing second in the conference and 26th in the country.
Before coming to Eastern Kentucky, Naylor spent seven years as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of Michigan’s football team.
Special Teams Quality Control
Spencer Patterson joined the EKU coaching staff as the special teams quality control coach in July of 2016.
Last season, Eastern Kentucky had the top rated punting unit in the conference and one of the best in the nation. Eastern led the Ohio Valley Conference in net punting (41.19 ypp) and punt return defense (2.5 ypp). The Colonels ranked third and fourth in the nation in those categories as well.
Before coming to Eastern Kentucky, Patterson coached at Provo High School in Provo, Utah for three seasons while he completed a bachelors degree in exercise science at Utah Valley University.
Director of Football Operations
John Barnett, the former director of football operations at the University of Southern Mississippi, joined the Eastern Kentucky football staff in the same position in March 2017.
At EKU, Barnett is responsible for travel arrangements for the team as well as coordinating summer camp activities and assisting with the day-to-day operation of the football program. In 2018, he added additional recruiting operations duties to his list of responsibilities.
Barnett served six seasons on the staff at the University of Southern Mississippi before spending a portion of the 2017 spring at the University of Kansas.