Mark Hudspeth (copy)

Mark Hudspeth, a former Mississippi State assistant coach, led Tennessee’s Austin Peay to 11 wins and the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs last season.

Austin Peay football coach Mark Hudspeth, a former Mississippi State assistant, abruptly resigned on Friday after one season at the Tennessee school.

He cited the need to spend more time with his family for the decision. Hudspeth and his wife have five children.

Peay’s players are slated to begin organized team practices on July 31.

The 51-year-old former Delta State player led Peay’s Governors to the most successful season in program history in 2019, going 11-4 and losing in the quarterfinals of the NCAA’s FCS playoffs.

Previously, Hudspeth was a head coach at North Alabama (2002-08) and at Louisiana-Lafayette (2011-2017).

“This was not an easy decision, but a very personal one,” Hudspeth said a statement. “I need to take some time away from the game with Tyla and the kids. I could not be more thankful for my time at Austin Peay and will be a fan forever.”

He added that he planned to return to coaching “in the future at the right time.”

Hudspeth spent the 2018 season as assistant head coach and tight ends coach at Mississippi State under Joe Moorhead. In 2009-10, he was the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator at MSU under Dan Mullen.

Hudspeth assembled a coaching staff at Austin Peay with a number of Mississippi State connections.

Associate head coach Marquase Lovings got his start as a graduate assistant at MSU in 2007, offensive coordinator Tim Zetts and offensive line coach Eddy Morrissey were on the MSU staff in 2018, defensive coordinator Mark Powell was a graduate assistant there in 2018 and receivers coach Chad Bumphis, from Tupelo, played there in 2009-12.

Austin Peay Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison said the school would retain Hudspeth’s staff while deciding who would lead the team this fall.

Hudspeth is a native of Louisville, Mississippi. His high school classmates at Winston Academy included former Ole Miss men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy, who’s now in his first season at UAB, and Kentucky women’s coach Matthew Mitchell.

In 1996-97, Hudspeth coached football at his alma mater, leading the team to a 25-1 record and a private school state title.

He was an assistant at Nicholls State, Central Arkansas, Delta State and Navy before being named head coach at North Alabama.

He went 66-21 at UNA, getting the Lions to the NCAA Division II semifinals three times.

A successful tenure at Louisiana Lafayette ended after NCAA violations academic fraud and payments to players – linked to a former assistant coach, David Saunders, forced the school to vacate 22 wins.

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