Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina head football coach Mark Speir today announced the addition of Justin Hood to his defensive coaching staff. Hood, who has over a decade of experience at all three division of collegiate football as a player and a coach, will oversee the Catamount outside linebackers on the defensive staff.
Hood replaces Zac Etheridge who took a coaching position at FBS-member, Louisiana-Lafayette. He joins the WCU staff from FCS-member, Davidson, joining the Wildcats in March of 2016 as the safeties coach and recruiting coordinator. After his first year, he was promoted to defensive pass game coordinator, while continuing to work with the defensive backs as well as kick punt returners.
In December, 2017, Hood served as the Interim Head Football Coach for the Wildcats program.
"Justin Hood brings a wealth of experience across many levels of college football as a player, coach, and a recruiter," said WCU head coach Mark Speir. "Justin is a player's coach and is a great recruiter. We are excited to have him join our defensive coaching staff."
Prior to Davidson, Hood served as defensive coordinator at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, where he spent two seasons as defensive coordinator. He also specialized in coaching the secondary for the Crusaders, as well as the punt return unit.
In his first season, Hood placed one of his student-athletes on the all-conference team when safety Jimmy Curtis was named to honorable mention status. Under his tutelage, Curtis led the Crusaders in tackles (59), interceptions (3), passes defended (8), and forced fumbles (4). Capital, as a team, finished seventh in the country with 15 total fumble recoveries in 2014.
Before arriving in Columbus, Ga., Hood served as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois, a position he held for nearly two years under former WCU assistant coach, Tim Beckman. He worked with the cornerbacks and also had responsibilities in scouting, film breakdown and coaching the scout offense and special teams.
Prior to Illinois, Hood worked in two different positions at the University of Oregon. During the 2011-12 season, he was an intern working with the offense and in quality control. Hood assisted in coaching running backs, evaluated high school and junior college running back prospects and communicated defensive coverage on game days. From 2010-11, he was a recruiting administrative assistant, working in all phases of recruiting. During his two seasons, the Ducks won back-to-back Pac-12 championships, finished as the national runner-up in 2011, and won the Rose Bowl in 2012.
Hood's resume also includes time as the Bill Walsh Intern with the New York Giants in August of 2013, assisting in coaching the running backs and managing the scout special teams.
A four-year starter, Hood was a two-year captain at Ashland University, an NCAA Division II school in Ohio. A defensive back, he was named second team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2007. He graduated from Ashland with a bachelor's degree in marketing in 2008 before earning his master's at Illinois in education policy and leadership in 2013.
Hood and his wife, Sarah, will reside in Sylva, N.C.
Speir hopes to complete his coaching staff this week in advance of the squad's annual spring drills that are slated to open March 12 in Cullowhee with the annual Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo, scheduled for Saturday, April 7.