Last night on Kentucky Sports Radio dot com, I said Stoops is in “no rush” to hire two new assistants, and for fans to expect news to happen “just before the start of spring practice.” Less than 24 hours later, I’m writing about Stoops’ two new assistant coaches.
The addition of Dean Hood and Derrick LeBlanc have not been made official by UK, but multiple reports indicate LeBlanc will replace Jimmy Brumbaugh as the defensive line coach while Hood will serve as the special teams and outside linebackers coach.
LeBlanc was a member of the LSU coaching staff for four years, facing Kentucky twice in Death Valley. In 2000 they defeated the Cats 34-0. In his second stint with the Tigers, they took down Kentucky 35-7 on their way to the BCS title in 2011. LeBlanc avoided the 2007 upset at Commonwealth Stadium by one year.
Hood traveled to Kentucky twice during his time as EKU’s head coach. The Colonels lost to the Cats 37-12 in 2009, but in 2015 they should have won. Luckily, Dorian Baker saved Stoops from embarrassment
It’s much more entertaining from Kentucky’s perspective.
The two coaches have a combined 47 years of coaching experience.
Entering his 30th year as a coach, Dean Hood started coaching in the secondary. Prior to his nine-year stint as the EKU’s head coach (two OVC titles and three playoff appearances), he spent five years on the staff in the mid-90s, helping the Colonels reach three playoffs. Between his time in Richmond, Hood spent one year at Ohio University and seven seasons as Wake Forest’s defensive coordinator.
LeBlanc began his coaching career as a GA for Nick Saban at LSU in 2000. LeBlanc bounced around the lower ranks as a defensive line coach before returning to LSU as an assistant strength coach from 2008-11. In his final year the Tigers lost to Alabama in the BCS Title rematch. LeBlanc went to Wyoming for a year, then returned to the south for two years at Southern Miss. After coordinating a JUCO defense for a year, he returned to the D-Line at North Texas where he joined former UK wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord. The Mean Green finished the season with a 37-31 loss to Army in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.
LeBlanc Played on Both Sides of the Ball
A native of Baton Rouge, LeBlanc was a four-year letterman for Northwestern State in Louisiana from 1992-96, not to be confused with the Northeast Louisiana Indians who beat Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium 21-14 in 1994. LeBlanc was used on both the offensive and defensive lines.
He believes knowing how to play offensive line helps him teach defensive line. “I can teach a young guy how to beat that guard, how to beat that center, to beat that double-team, because I know what’s coming from the other side of the line of scrimmage.”
LeBlanc’s Attitude will Put a Smile on Your Face
You’ll understand after watching this short video.
LeBlanc has an established reputation as a player’s coach. He should fit in well with Stoops’ young staff.
It’s Hood’s Second Courtship with Kentucky
After Hood was fired by EKU at the conclusion of the 2015 season, Mark Stoops tried to convince Hood to make the short drive up I-75 to join his staff. Hood turned down the chance to replace Andy Buh as the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. After spending a year as the associate head coach at Charlotte, Hood has reportedly decided to take the same job he considered a year ago.
Stoops has done this before. He tried to convince Eddie Gran to replace Neal Brown. After the Shannon Dawson experiment failed, Gran couldn’t turn down Stoops again. If Hood produces results similar to Gran’s, the Cats are in good shape.
Family Day just got More Crowded
Every Tuesday night at the practice facility is family night. The wives and children of the coaches are all over the facility as practice concludes, capping off the evening with a communal meal. LeBlanc has three and Hood has four children to add to the Tuesday night chaos.
Hood Held Camps with Urban Meyer
A former coach in Ohio, this camp with Urban was held in Harpersfield Township, Ohio during his EKU tenure.
There’s Much More to Know
Until UK it becomes official and LeBlanc and Hood make it to campus, they remain somewhat of a mystery. I can only Google so much. At this point, the wait should not last much longer.