Roy Kidd (December 4, 1931 – September 12, 2023) was an American collegiate football player and coach, best known for his lengthy tenure at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). His coaching achievements have made him a legend in NCAA Division I-AA/FCS history.
Early Life and Playing Career
Roy Kidd was a multi-sport athlete at Corbin High School in Corbin, Kentucky, excelling in football, basketball, and baseball. After graduating in 1950, he chose to attend Eastern Kentucky State College, where he played quarterback from 1950 to 1953. Kidd turned down a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky to play under Bear Bryant, opting instead to play both football and baseball at Eastern. He was honored as a “Little All-American” in 1953 and also earned four varsity letters in both football and baseball.
Kidd began his coaching career in 1955 at Madison Central High School in Richmond, Kentucky. He later became the head football coach at Madison-Model High School, where he amassed a record of 54–11–1 from 1956 to 1961. His leadership turned around a program that had struggled for years, and his .818 winning percentage remains the best in the school’s history.
Eastern Kentucky University
In 1964, Kidd was appointed the head coach at Eastern Kentucky University. Under his guidance, the Eastern Kentucky Colonels won NCAA Division I-AA Football Championships in 1979 and 1982 and finished as runners-up in 1980 and 1981. Over his 39-year tenure, he accumulated a record of 314–124–8. His 314 career wins rank second in NCAA Division I-AA/FCS history, only behind Grambling State’s Eddie Robinson.
Kidd’s impact extended beyond championships; he also mentored 55 All-Americans, 202 First Team All-OVC selections, and 41 athletes who went on to sign contracts with the National Football League (NFL).
Honors and Legacy
For his exceptional contributions to collegiate football, Kidd was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. The football stadium at EKU was renamed Roy Kidd Stadium in his honor, and the street leading to the stadium has been renamed “Roy and Sue Kidd Way,” after Kidd and his wife, Susan Purcell Kidd.
Roy Kidd died on September 12, 2023, at the age of 91.
Roy Kidd’s legacy as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division I-AA/FCS history is solidified not just by his impressive record but also by the lasting impact he had on the players and institutions he was part of. His name will forever be synonymous with excellence in collegiate football.