Walt Wells has taken an ambitious approach to trying to help Eastern Kentucky return prominence in the Ohio Valley Conference and, in the process, secure a trip back to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

Wells further bolstered his EKU coaching staff Monday when he formally added veteran defensive coach Mike Dietzel to coach the Colonels’ safeties.

“I met Mike in the late 1990s and worked with him at Western Kentucky from 2003 to 2009,” Wells said in a statement. “He’s a really good teacher and a really good recruiter. Mike has seen a lot of very good players and good football.

“He was a key part of Ball State’s MAC Championship and bowl win. He’s been a defensive coordinator before, so his experience will help our defensive staff. His personality will be infectious to our staff and players. He’s a really good person and a really solid coach.”

Dietzel was hired two years ago at Ball State; he also had previously served as defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky, where he and Wells first crossed paths. Dietzel also has stops at Kent State and Buffalo, among others.

The Colonels just slightly shuffled up their defensive responsibilities to bring Dietzel into the mix, moving Chris Franklin from coaching safeties to cornerbacks. EKU had lost Shannon Morrison to Charles Huff’s Marshall staff.

Dietzel’s familiarity with the Colonels’ staff is deep. He’s coached or coached with four members of Wells’ EKU staff.

Eastern Kentucky hired Wells in December 2019. The program elected to play almost an entirely full 2020 fall schedule that was a veritable all-challengers-welcomed approach. EKU played nine games, including three contests against FBS opponents.

The Colonels are scheduled to kick off their 2021 campaign Sept. 4 at Western Carolina before traveling to Louisville on Sept. 11. EKU also announced the addition of Garry McPeek as assistant director of football operations.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest news and notes in football.

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John Brice has covered college football, mostly in the SEC as well as covering Notre Dame and Ohio State, for more than 20 years. He's a former Tennessee Vols football sideline reporter and believes life should be spent traveling or planning the next trip.