Eastern Kentucky Colonels name Garry McPeek acting football coach with Walt Wells sidelined

RICHMOND, Ky. -- Eastern Kentucky athletic director Matt Roan has named Garry McPeek as acting head football coach, effectively immediately, while Walt Wells recovers from a cardiac episode on Sunday.

Wells is hospitalized in stable condition at UK Hospital in Lexington.

McPeek came to EKU in February 2021 and was promoted to chief of staff in the offseason after serving last season as director of football operations. Roan said McPeek is dedicated to Wells' team-first philosophy and that his appointment allows the team to move forward in the most efficient and least disruptive manner possible.

The FCS-level Colonels open the season on Friday night at Eastern Michigan.

"These are not the circumstances in which we hoped to be operating within," Roan said in a release. "(Coach McPeek) will do an outstanding job of leading and supporting a terrific staff of coordinators, assistant coaches, and support personnel. Our staff and I look forward to assisting him throughout this process for the benefit of the young men who make up our team."

McPeek is a 30-year coaching veteran who had previously worked at Valdosta High School in Georgia in 2020. He also launched the athletic program at Lexington's Frederick Douglass High School and twice coached the Kentucky Horsemen Arena Football League team.