Update: Hazell will coach in the Flashes’ bowl game


Kent State Head Coach Darrell Hazell overlooks the Rutgers scarlet crowd at High Point Solutions stadium on Oct. 27, 2012. Hazell, a New Jersey native, was coach at Rutgers for three years from 2001 to 2003. The Flashes defeated the Scarlet Knights at their homecoming game, 35-23. Photo by Brian Smith.

Grant Engle

Updated 6:19 p.m.

Athletic Director Joel Nielsen has announced Darrel Hazell will still coach the Flashes in their Jan. 6 bowl game.

Update 1:18 p.m.

Darrell Hazell has agreed to a contract that will make him the next head football coach at Purdue University.

The two-year coach at Kent State addressed about 20 members of the media at 10 a.m. Wednesday during a press conference in the M.A.C. Center.

Hazell said he faced a tough decision, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to coach at a Big 10 school.

“I’m excited about that new chapter in my life,” Hazell said. “But, obviously, it’s always hard to leave people that you love.”

Hazell said he would like to coach the Flashes in the GoDaddy.com Bowl Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala., but he needs to discuss it with Kent State Athletic Director Joel Nielsen. Hazell said he expects a decision regarding the bowl game to be made Wednesday night.

The 2012 MAC Coach of the Year had three years remaining on his contract with Kent State at $300,000 per year. A clause in his contract states he is responsible for paying back the remainder of his contract to the university should he leave early.

In most cases, the hiring university will buy out the remainder of a coach’s contract, but no details have been released regarding Hazell’s deal. Multiple media outlets have reported Hazell’s contract is in the five-to-six-year range and is worth about $2 million per year. Hazell wouldn’t address his new contract at the press conference.

“I’ve coached for 27 years in college football,” Hazell said. “I realize this is part of the business, and opportunities like this don’t come along every single day.”

Speculation that Hazell had accepted the Purdue job began in mainstream and social media about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday– a claim he said was false. Hazell said he agreed to terms with the Boilermakers around 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

Hazell met with his coaching staff at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday and held a team meeting 15 minutes later. He described the team meeting as “brief,” and he said it was so because he knew the meeting could have gotten emotional.

Some players took to Twitter Tuesday night with tweets of “bye bye” and “#seeyaseeya,” among others. Several players referred to college football as “a business” and congratulated Hazell on his new contract.

Hazell is the 35th coach in the history of the Purdue football program, and he is the first African-American head coach of the team.

The Boilermakers will formally announce Hazell as the next head coach during a press conference at 7 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind.

Hazell was 16-9 in two years as the Flashes head coach. The team earned its first bowl invitation in 40 years this season, and set a program record with 11 wins this season.

While the quick turnaround made Hazell a hot commodity in college football, he was quick to credit his coaching staff and players for his success.

“I can’t thank the people here at Kent State enough,” Hazell said. “I’m very grateful for my time here, and the friendships and relationships I built in this short period of time.”

Contact Grant Engle at [email protected].