From one former Bulldog to another: Lovings replaces Hudspeth at Austin Peay
Austin Peay is handing the reins of its football program off to another former Bulldog.
The school announced on Tuesday that Marquase Lovings, a Mississippi State alumnus and former quality control coach and defensive graduate assistant with the Bulldogs, has been chosen as the interim head coach of the Governors. Lovings replaces Mark Hudspeth, another former MSU coach who suddenly resigned last week after one season for personal reasons.
Lovings was the associate head coach for Austin Peay last season. and oversaw the defensive line as he helped the Governors to one of the best years in school history. Austin Peay reeled off an 11-4 overall record before losing in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. The 11 wins were a program record and the school won the Ohio Valley Conference championship. Now, it'll be Lovings leading the Governors' quest for a repeat.
"I am excited to get started and humbled by the opportunity (Austin Peay athletic director Gerald Harrison) has given me," Lovings said in a school release. "Really love the fact I get to lead these young men and blessed to have these coaches by my side. We will coach these young men with love and respect but will still be demanding. We want Clarksville and Austin Peay to be proud of this football team both on and off the field."
Just as Lovings is thrilled for the opportunity, Harrison feels confident Lovings was the right choice for the job.
"I am excited for Marquase, but more importantly I am excited for our student-athletes and our football program," Harrison said. "After meeting with our student-athletes and coaching staff following Mark (Hudspeth)'s resignation, it was clear our best chance to bring another championship to Stacheville this year was promoting Marquase.
"Marquase understands and shares my expectations for Austin Peay Football. Along with our outstanding coaching staff and dedicated Governors student-athletes, I am confident we will continue on a positive trajectory. In short, Marquase is the right leader to lead this team."
Lovings' coaching career started when he was a student at Mississippi State. He was a quality control coach from 2007 to 2008 under then-Bulldogs head coach Sylvester Croom, then was a defensive graduate assistant under Dan Mullen in 2009 and 2010. Since then, Lovings spent seven years as an assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette and a year at Nicholls before landing at Austin Peay last season. Now, he's set for his biggest role ever.
It also bears noting that as Lovings gets his first head coaching opportunity, he'll be getting help from a fellow former Bulldog. Ex-MSU receiver Chad Bumphis is a part of the Austin Peay staff as wide receivers coach.