A former Utah State University assistant football coach died in a car crash Saturday night. Jeff Hoover, who was most recently an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois, died late Saturday while returning home from a game against Southern Illinois where Eastern Illinois lost 48-7 in a first-round playoff game. He was 41. Officials say the car Hoover was riding in swerved to miss a deer and rolled. Hoover’s wife and several others were injured and hospitalized. Eastern Illinois University athletic director Barbara Burke released a statement Sunday. “We are very saddened by the loss of Jeff Hoover. He was a valuable member of our football staff and was looked up to by the young men in our football program. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Penny, and their two children, along with Eric Cash and his family in this difficult time.” Hoover was at Utah State from 2000-2004, coaching the Aggies’ offensive line, who helped pave the way for USU running back legend Emmett White, who ranked 13th in the NCAA in rushing in 2000 and 11th in 2001. In 2000, Utah State was ranked among the top teams in the nation by allowing just 15 sacks. In 2001, the Aggies were 14th in the country in passing offense. In 2003, Hoover coached USU’s Outland Trophy candidate Trevor Hutton, who was a second-team all-Sun Belt selection and signed a free agent NFL contract, one of four to sign NFL contracts following their USU careers. Hoover also coached two Aggies to all-Big West honors in 2000, including first-team pick Jeff Long and second-team selection Jim Walker. In 2001, Walker was an all-independent honoree. Hoover is survived by his wife and two children. A memorial service for Hoover is planned, but no details were immediately available.
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