Legendary Eastern Kentucky University football coach Roy Kidd dies

September 13, 2023
Matthew Boose

Beloved college football coach Roy Kidd, who led Eastern Kentucky University for decades, has died. He was 91.

Between 1964 and 2002, Kidd led EKU to two NCAA Division I-AA championships and 314 wins.

Kidd was moved into hospice care last week.

Legendary coach Roy Kidd dies

A native of Corbin, Kentucky, Kidd joined Eastern Kentucky University as a student-athlete, excelling at football and baseball before moving into coaching.

He led EKU's Colonels to two I-AA national titles in 1979 and 1982, also winning 16 Ohio Valley Conference titles.

“What Coach Kidd was so good at, we believed in him,” Steve Bird, the star wide receiver on Kidd’s 1982 national championship team, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “When he told us something, we knew it was going to happen.”

The school credited Kidd with establishing its reputation in a statement on the sad news.

"Besides establishing Eastern as a football powerhouse and bringing national acclaim to the university, Coach Kidd is remembered by his former players as a thoughtful and compassionate mentor who cared about their personal success, far beyond their playing days," the statement said.

"Coach Kidd truly represents what it means to be an EKU Colonel, and we mourn his loss alongside his wife and family."

EKU community mourns

When he retired, Kidd's 314 wins were the sixth most in NCAA Division I history. 41 of his players went on to the NFL and 55 were All-Americans.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. In January of this year, he was honored with the American Football Coaches Association's Amos Alonzo Stagg Award.

"There aren't enough words to express everything that Coach Kidd meant to Eastern Kentucky University and the EKU football program," current EKU coach Walt Wells said. "He was and will continue to be a huge influence on me, not just as a coach, but also as a father and a husband. Coach, I'll miss you and I love you!"

Kidd is survived by his wife Susan 'Sue' Purcell Kidd, their three children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

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