Surprise at Austin Peay: Hudspeth steps down

NCAA Football

(Stats Perform) – Austin Peay announced coach Mark Hudspeth’s surprising resignation Friday, less than a month before the Governors will start practices following the best season in program history.

Hudspeth, 51, said he was stepping down after one season for personal reasons.

“This was not an easy decision, but a very personal one,” Hudspeth said in a university statement. “I need to take some time away from the game with (wife) Tyla and the kids. I could not be more thankful for my time at Austin Peay and will be a fan forever. I will miss the players and coaches incredibly and will never forget their commitment to each other and this team. I will return to coaching in the future at the right time.”

Hudspeth led Austin Peay to a school-record 11 wins and a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title. The Governors beat Furman and Sacramento State in their first FCS playoff appearance and reached the quarterfinals.

Hudspeth, the OVC coach of the year, was signed through the 2024 season after a year was added to his original five-year contract, inked in December 2018. He was scheduled to make $272,500 this season, according to the Leaf Chronicle in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Along with the 11-4 record at Austin Peay, Hudspeth coached at North Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette and has a 106-63 mark in 15 overall seasons.

Austin Peay athletic director Gerald Harrison said the remainder of the coaching staff will be retained this season while the school decides on Hudspeth’s successor.

Austin Peay shut down voluntary student-athlete workouts earlier this week due to positive COVID-19 tests. The Governors are scheduled to begin preseason practices on July 31 and their season Aug. 29 against Central Arkansas in Montgomery, Alabama.

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