Longtime Eastern Kentucky University assistant football coach Joe Blankenship passed away on Friday.
Blankenship joined head coach Roy Kidd’s staff in 1977. He served as the team’s linebackers coach until 1988. From 1989 to 1995 Blankenship was the Colonels’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Following the end of his coaching career in 1995, Blankenship continued as an assistant professor in EKU’s department of health education until 1999.
As a member of the coaching staff, Blankenship helped Eastern Kentucky make four straight appearances in the national championship game from 1979 to 1982, winning the title in 1979 and 1982. During his 19 years on the staff, the Colonels won 11 Ohio Valley Conference Championships and made 16 appearances in the NCAA playoffs.
Blankenship earned a scholarship to the University of Kentucky after his playing career at Louisville Male High School. He transferred to Eastern Kentucky in 1962. Blankenship sustained a career-ending injury in 1963 but remained with the team as a student assistant coach with the linebackers in 1964. He served as a graduate assistant linebackers coach in 1965.
Prior to rejoining Kidd’s staff, Blankenship was an assistant coach at Iroquois High School and Seneca High School in Louisville. He was the head coach at Seneca from 1974 to 1976.
Blankenship served on several different committees throughout the years as a member at First Baptist Church of Richmond. He was a member of the Colonel Club from its beginning and served as president in 1998-99.