Kent State to introduce Paul Haynes as head coach

Nick Shook

Kent State lost its hot coaching commodity on Dec. 5.

It found its successor on Monday.

Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen is expected to introduce Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes as Kent State’s 21st head football coach at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Kent.

Haynes, 43, is a former Flashes walk-on player who spent four years as a member of the Kent State football team. He led the team in interceptions as a freshman and finished seventh on Kent State’s all-time tackling list with 440.

He spent two seasons at Kent State as an assistant from 1999-2000 before departing for a job with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Haynes was born in Columbus, Ohio, and spent six seasons (2005-2010) at Ohio State under Jim Tressel as an assistant alongside former KSU head coach Darrell Hazell. Haynes left Ohio State after the 2011 season to become defensive coordinator at Arkansas.

He returns to Kent State with the endorsement of Hazell, who resigned in early December to take the head coaching job at Purdue.

“Paul’s a good guy,” Hazell was quoted as saying in a story written by Stephanie Storm of the Akron Beacon Journal. “He’ll relate we’ll with the kids…and he’ll bring some of the same things we do now along with him.”

The familiarity may have played a role in Nielsen’s decision to hire Haynes, but it was also likely that the university had to pony up in terms of salary.

Haynes made $475,000 per year as defensive coordinator at Arkansas. Hazell made $300,000 per year while at Kent State, and will make a base salary of $2 million at Purdue. The highest salary in the Mid-American Conference belongs to Ohio’s Frank Solich at $500,000.

Terms of the contract have not yet been disclosed.

Follow @NickShookDKS for the latest information live from the introductory press conference at 2:30 p.m.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].