Eastern Kentucky Colonels football
2023 Eastern Kentucky Colonels football team
First season1909
Athletic directorMatt Roan
Head coachWalt Wells
3rd season, 17–14 (.548)
StadiumRoy Kidd Stadium
(capacity: 20,000)
FieldCG Bank Field
Year built1969
Field surfaceSF II Synthetic Turf
LocationRichmond, Kentucky
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceUnited Athletic Conference
All-time record602–386–38 (.605)
Bowl record4–3 (.571)
Playoff appearances22
Claimed national titles2
Conference titles22
RivalriesWestern Kentucky (rivalry)
Morehead State (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans46
ColorsMaroon and white[1]
Fight songHail, Hail and Yea, Eastern
MascotThe Colonel
Marching bandEastern Kentucky University Marching Colonels

The Eastern Kentucky Colonels football program represents Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in college football, competing at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level as a member of the United Athletic Conference (UAC). The school has traditionally had much success on the football field, having won 21 OVC conference titles and two Division I FCS National Championships (then called Division I-AA) in 1979 and 1982, and reaching the finals in 1980 and 1981. Much of the success came during the long tenure of head coach Roy Kidd from 1964 to 2002. In 1990, Eastern honored Kidd by naming the school's football stadium Roy Kidd Stadium. Eastern Kentucky's football team was able to secure 31 consecutive winning seasons before finally posting a losing season record in 2009.

In September 2013, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper of nearby Lexington, reported that EKU was considering moving its program to the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision. However, under NCAA rules, such a move would require that EKU receive an invitation from an existing FBS conference.[2] In the end, no such move was made.

EKU left the OVC for the Atlantic Sun Conference, then officially known as the ASUN Conference, in July 2021. At the time, the ASUN did not sponsor football, but had committed to launching an FCS football league in the near future.[3] During the 2021 season, EKU competed as a de facto associate member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in a football partnership between the two leagues officially branded as the "ASUN–WAC Challenge".[4] While the ASUN launched its own football league in 2022, it maintained its partnership with the WAC for the 2022 season. Shortly after that season, the two conferences fully merged their football leagues,[5][6] announcing the new branding of United Athletic Conference in April 2023.[7]

Conference affiliation


National championships

Eastern Kentucky went to four consecutive national championship games, winning twice in 1979 and 1982 while finishing as runner-up in 1980 and 1981 to Boise State and Idaho State, respectively.

Season Coach Selector Record Opponent Result
1979 Roy Kidd NCAA I-AA Playoff 11–2 Lehigh W 30–7
1982 Roy Kidd NCAA I-AA Playoff 13–0 Delaware W 17–14

Conference championships

Eastern Kentucky has won 22 conference championships, 16 outright and 6 shared.[8]

Year Conference Head Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1954 Ohio Valley Conference Glenn Presnell 8–1–1 5–0
1962 Glenn Presnell 6–3 4–2
1967 Roy Kidd 8–1–2 5–0–2
1968 Roy Kidd 8–2 7–0
1974 Roy Kidd 8-2 6–1
1976 Roy Kidd 8–3 6–1
1981 Roy Kidd 12–2 8–0
1982 Roy Kidd 13–0 7–0
1983 Roy Kidd 7–3-1 6–1
1984 Roy Kidd 8–4 6–1
1986† Roy Kidd 10–3–1 6–1
1987† Roy Kidd 9–3 5–1
1988 Roy Kidd 11–3 6–0
1990† Roy Kidd 10–2 5–1
1991 Roy Kidd 12–2 7–0
1993 Roy Kidd 8–4 8–0
1994 Roy Kidd 10–3 8–0
1997 Roy Kidd 8–4 7–0
2007 Danny Hope 9–3 8–0
2008 Dean Hood 8–4 7–1
2011 Dean Hood 7–5 6–2
2022 Atlantic Sun Walt Wells 7–5 3–2

† Co-champion

Bowl games

Eastern Kentucky has participated in six bowl games. Four of these bowl games served as a sort of championship game, whether as a regional championship game or as the NCAA Division I Football Championship. The EKU Colonels played in the inaugural Opportunity Bowl presented by Raising Cane's, and in memory of Dr. Sheila Pressley, on Nov. 21, 2020. Eastern Kentucky University hosted the second annual Opportunity Bowl presented by Dinsmore & Shohl on Nov. 20, 2021. The game was matchup EKU and Jacksonville State University.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1954 Glenn Presnell Tangerine Bowl Omaha L 7–6
1967 Roy Kidd Grantland Rice Bowl Ball State W 27–13
1980 Roy Kidd Camellia Bowl Boise State L 29–31
1981 Roy Kidd Pioneer Bowl Idaho State L 23–34
1982 Roy Kidd Pioneer Bowl Delaware W 17–14
2020 Walt Wells Opportunity Bowl Western Carolina W 49–17
2021 Walt Wells Opportunity Bowl Jacksonville State W 39–31

Playoff appearances

NCAA Division I-AA/FCS

Eastern Kentucky University football is considered the first dynasty in FCS football. Including a four-year run to the championship game from 1979 to 1982. During this time period they went 46–7 under legendary coach Roy Kidd. Eastern Kentucky is third all time in the FCS for playoff appearances with 21 total appearances (Montana 26/UNI 22). Below is a list of all playoff appearances.

Season Round Opponent Result
1979 Semifinals
W 33–30 2OT
W 30–7
1980 Semifinals
Boise State
W 23–20
L 29–31
1981 Quarterfinals
Boise State
Idaho State
W 35–28
W 23–17
L 23–34
1982 Quarterfinals
Tennessee State
W 38–30
W 13–7
W 17–14
1983 First Round Boston University L 20–24
1984 First Round Middle Tennessee L 10–27
1986 First Round
Eastern Illinois
Arkansas State
W 23–10
W 24–22
L 10–24
1987 First Round
Western Kentucky
Northeast Louisiana
W 40–17
L 32–33
1988 First Round
Western Kentucky
Georgia Southern
W 28–17
W 41–24
L 17–21
1989 First Round Youngstown State L 24–28
1990 First Round Furman L 17–45
1991 First Round
Appalachian State
Middle Tennessee
W 14–3
W 23–13
L 7–14
1992 First Round Marshall L 0–44
1993 First Round Georgia Southern L 12–14
1994 First Round
Boston University
Youngstown State
W 30–23
L 15–18
1995 First Round Montana L 0–48
1997 First Round Western Kentucky L 14–42
2007 First Round Richmond L 14–31
2008 First Round Richmond L 10–38
2011 First Round James Madison L 17–20
2014 First Round Indiana State L 16–36
2022 First Round Gardner–Webb L 41–52

NCAA Division II

The Colonels made one appearance in the Division II playoffs, with a record of 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
1976 Quarterfinals North Dakota State L, 7–10

Head coaches

Years Coach Record Conference championships
1909 Jim Park 0–0–4 0
1910–1911 Clyde H. Wilson 2–7–1 0
1912 Charles A. Keith 3–4–1 0
1913–1916 Ben Barnard 8–13–2 0
1919–1921 Clyde McCoy 3–6–1 0
1922–1928 George Hembree 21–29–4 0
1929–1934 Turkey Hughes 8–29–6 0
1935–1946 Rome Rankin 56–24–6 0
1947–1953 Tom Samuels 41–24–2 0
1954–1963 Glenn Presnell 42–49–3 2
1964–2002 Roy Kidd 315–123–8 16
2003–2007 Danny Hope 35–22 1
2008–2015 Dean Hood 55–38 2
2016-2019 Mark Elder 21–24 0
2020-current Walt Wells 17-14 1


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Western Kentucky

The Battle of the Bluegrass is the name given to the Eastern Kentucky–Western Kentucky football rivalry. Both schools were formerly members of the Ohio Valley Conference, and played against each other regularly until Western Kentucky's transition from the NCAA's FCS to FBS in 2008. The two teams have met 84 times on the football field, with Western Kentucky currently holding a 47–35–3 edge in the all-time series. This rivalry has been known to be particularly competitive with neither team gaining an edge until recent history with Western moving up to the FBS level. It is known as the oldest and most fierce rivalry the commonwealth of Kentucky has, even more so than larger schools of the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville's Governors Cup game because of how many times the teams met, the longevity of the rivalry, and the important conference implications the annual game used to hold.

After a nearly nine year pause, the series resumed again in 2017, when Western Kentucky hosted Eastern Kentucky in a game played at Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium. The two teams will meet again on September 7, 2024

Main article: Battle of the Bluegrass

Morehead State

The Old Hawg Rifle is the name of the rivalry trophy between the Eastern Kentucky Colonels and the Morehead State Eagles. This rivalry was important because the schools are in such close proximity and are serving the same general Eastern Kentucky region. The gun is an antique, pre-Revolutionary War muzzleloader that is rumored to have once been used in Kentucky's Rowan County War. The rifle has not been actively used in the rivalry since 1962, though the two teams have continued to play against each other since then. The rifle is currently kept on display in the Morehead State student center. The two teams have met 73 times on the football field, with Eastern Kentucky currently holding a 53–16–4 edge in the all-time series. Eastern Kentucky has won 28 out of the last 29 matchups.

Main article: Old Hawg Rifle

Program records

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Team records

Individual records

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of January 16, 2024.[9]

2024 2025 2026 2027
at Mississippi State at Louisville at Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
at Western Kentucky Houston Christian
Morehead State at Appalachian State
Robert Morris at Western Illinois


  1. ^ Eastern Kentucky University Brand Guide. December 5, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  2. ^ Story, Mark (September 14, 2013). "Mark Story: EKU is 'discussing' moving its football program up to the FBS". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  3. ^ "ASUN Conference Announces Three New Institutions; Adds Football as 20th Sport" (Press release). ASUN Conference. January 29, 2021. Archived from the original on January 29, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "ASUN, WAC Conferences Announce Football Partnership for 2021" (Press release). ASUN Conference. February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  5. ^ "@ASUN_Football and WAC Release 2023 Schedule" (Press release). ASUN Conference. December 20, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  6. ^ "ASUN And WAC Unveil 2023 Football Schedule" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. December 20, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  7. ^ "ASUN-WAC Football Partnership Formally Rebrands As The United Athletic Conference" (Press release). ASUN Conference. April 17, 2023. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  8. ^ "Ohio Valley Conference" (PDF). ovcsports.com.
  9. ^ "Eastern Kentucky Colonels Football Future Schedules". FBSchedules.com. Retrieved January 16, 2024.