EKU hires Tennessee assistant Elder as Colonels head coach

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) Eastern Kentucky has confirmed the hiring of Tennessee assistant Mark Elder to be its head coach.

EKU athletic department spokesman Kevin Britton said Tuesday that the school will hold a news conference Thursday to introduce Elder, who's in his third season as the Volunteers' tight ends/special teams coach. Tennessee's kickoff and punt return units rank 1 and 2 respectively in yardage nationally and have six touchdowns combined this season. The Vols also rank 15th in kickoff return defense.

It will be the first head coaching job for the Case Western Reserve graduate in a 15-year career with stops at seven schools including Michigan, Cincinnati, Central Michigan and Akron. Elder replaces Dean Hood, who was dismissed last month after going 55-38 in eight seasons as Colonels coach, including 6-5 this year.

Tennessee athletic department spokesman Ryan Robinson said Elder is planning to stay with the Volunteers through their bowl game. Tennessee (8-4) faces No. 12 Northwestern (10-2) in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Florida.

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