Austin Peay has reached a deal in principle to hire Mississippi State tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth as its new head coach. The hire should be made official soon, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Hudspeth, 50, will begin his third stint as a college head coach. He first led Northern Alabama from 2002-2008, posting a 66-21 record and leading the program to five NCAA Division II playoff appearances in seven seasons. The 2003, 2005 and 2008 teams all reached the national semifinals. He then joined the Mississippi State coaching staff before being hired at Louisiana prior to the 2011 season.
He had immediate success with the Rajun’ Cajuns, winning nine games in each of his first four seasons. In all, Hudspeth led Louisiana to a 51-38 record in seven seasons at the school and five trips to the New Orleans Bowl. He was fired following a 5-7 2017 season, in part stemming from NCAA violations incurred when a former assistant provided improper benefits to players that resulted in the Rajun’ Cajuns vacating 22 wins from 2011-14.
Hudspeth returned to Mississippi State to serve as tight ends coach under Joe Moorhead last season. He replaces Will Healy, who left Austin Peay last week to become the new head coach at Charlotte. Healy went 13-21 in three seasons with the Governors, elevating the program from one of the worst in college football to a level in which it could attract a candidate with a winning track record like Hudspeth.