Roy Kidd, beloved and legendary coach at Eastern Kentucky University, dies at 91

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

By Kentucky Today

RICHMOND, Ky. (KT) — Legendary Eastern Kentucky University football coach Roy Kidd passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 91.

The school announced Kidd’s passing in a social media post.

“Our beloved Roy Kidd, a pillar of the EKU community and college football legend, passed away today at the age of 91,” the university said. “Coach Kidd became a part of our family in 1950 as a student and athlete, before embarking on a record-breaking and monumental career as head football coach from 1964 to 2002. 

“Coach Kidd left an indelible impact on every person he encountered, whether in athletics, across campus or beyond. Our university is forever grateful for his loyalty and service to our students. As we mourn, please join us in sending well wishes to his wife and children. Visitation details will be finalized in the near future, and once we have those details, we will be sure to share them with you. Rest in Peace, coach Roy Kidd.”

Kidd coached at Eastern Kentucky from 1964-2002 and won two I-AA National Championships in 1979 and again in 1982. The Colonels reached the finals in 1980 and 1981. Just 22 years ago, Kidd won his 300th career game, a circle of wins claimed by only a handful of collegiate coaches. He won 16 Ohio Valley Conference titles and led the Colonels to a pair of national runner-up finishes.

Kidd was a three-sport star at Corbin High School and went on to a standout career at EKU, where he was a record-setting Little All-American quarterback for the football team and a stalwart center fielder who exceeded .300 in each of his baseball seasons. After one year as assistant basketball and head baseball coach at Madison Central High School, Kidd moved across town and led the Madison-Model high school football team to a 54-11-1 mark from 1956 to 1961.

After a year as an assistant football coach at Morehead State University, he returned to EKU, where he served one year as an assistant football coach before beginning a 39-year reign of consistent excellence that few in the history of the sport have matched.

Kidd worked part-time for the EKU Development Office after retirement, continuing to rally support for an institution he dearly loved. His pride in Eastern was always palpable. 

“I want our people to have pride in this place, work hard to make it nice, get a good education, be a good person when you go out in the world and treat others the way you want to be treated,” Kidd once said. “My job was to win games and to make our players good people when they go out in the world.”

Kidd’s immeasurable impact on the university and the lives of so many student-athletes, the EKU football stadium is named Roy Kidd Stadium in his honor. The street in front of the stadium was renamed Roy and Sue Kidd Way; and a statue of the legendary coach and a wall honoring players, staff and managers is located in the north end zone. A street in front of Corbin High School’s football stadium is also named in his honor. Kidd is also a member of the EKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni, the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, the OVC Hall of Fame and the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s highest football award, given to the best high school football player in the state each season, is named the Roy Kidd Award, and the Roy Kidd OVC Coach of the Year Award is presented annually.

Kidd is survived by his wife of 62 years, Susan ‘Sue’ Purcell Kidd; their three children, Marc Kidd (Amy Luyster) of Plano, Texas, Kathy Kuhl (Lewis) of Miami, Florida, and Keith Kidd (Laura Estepp), Richmond, Kentucky; six grandchildren, Seth Kidd (Mehgan), Evan Kuhl (Ana), Samantha Kidd Shelton (Tyler), Nicholas Kuhl, Kirsten Kuhl and Kody Kidd; and four great-grandchildren, Penelope Kidd, Lucia Kuhl, Otto Shelton and Clementine Kidd along with numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edd and Pearl; two brothers, Earl Kidd and Ray Kidd and four sisters, Evelyn Kidd Marcum, Mildred Kidd Kist, Margaret Kidd and Edwina ‘Snookie’ Kidd.

Services for Kidd will be at the EKU Center for the Arts with Bill Fort officiating. A private burial will follow in the Richmond Cemetery. Dates and times of the services will be announced.

In lieu of flowers the family ask that donations be made in his honor to the Roy and Sue Kidd Endowed Scholarship at Eastern Kentucky University. Checks can be mailed to the EKU Foundation, CPO 19, 521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, KY 40475. Online gifts can be made at