Purdue University football decided to let former Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell go over the weekend after their loss to the University of Iowa. Hazell posted a 9-33 record with the Boilermakers in a little over three seasons of work.
Although Hazell’s time in Purdue was nothing short of a disappointment, his two seasons at Kent State were much different; Hazell went 16-10 as the Flashes’ head coach.
In Hazell’s second season with the Flashes, he managed to take the team to the MAC Championships and land the team in the Top 25. Behind Hazell’s coaching and the legs of Dri Archer, the Flashes success nearly landed them a Bowl Championship Series game appearance in 2012.
After heading that 11-3 season, Hazell quickly jumped at the opportunity to take on a bigger program. Coaching a Big 10 team — and the payday associated with the job — made leaving a fairly reasonable choice.
Since Hazell left, neither he nor Kent State have found success.
The idea of Hazell returning to the university fascinating; current coach Paul Haynes is a defensive mastermind with a knack for recruiting, so adding Hazell to the staff would be a bonus.
The Flashes have lacked that flare on offense since Hazell took his talents to the Big 10, but the offensive threats the Flashes currently have resemble the characteristics of the high-powered offense Hazell took to the MAC Championship a few years back.
Fifth-year senior wide receiver Ernest Calhoun has every bit of flash that Archer once carried for the blue and gold. Freshman tailback Justin Rankin looks to be a budding star. Add in impressive redshirt freshmen quarterback Mylik Mitchell (once he is healthy and able to play), and the Flashes could provide a dynamic offense again with the right signal caller.
Hazell could be that guy — he has ties to Kent State and comes from a solid coaching pedigree, having spent time under The Ohio State University’s Jim Tressel.
After tanking as a head coach, Kent State has the opportunity to sell Hazell on being a coordinator. Combing the stingy defensive approach that Haynes preaches with the up-tempo potent offense Hazell pushes could make quite the duo at Kent State.
Recruiting Hazell back might be a challenge, but a Hazell-Haynes pairing could bring Kent State a winning football program.
Ty Sugick is a columnist, contact him at [email protected]