A letter to Kent State’s Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen

Lance Lysowski


I am thoroughly impressed by your initiative to make football a priority at Kent State.

Your 90KSU plan has only been implemented for one season, and overall it was a success. After the team defeated Bowling Green on Oct. 23, I saw your face light up.

As you walked out of the locker room as the team was celebrating, it was obvious that you were not going to stop until Kent State football becomes a winning program.

With the resignation of former Kent State coach Doug Martin, your first major hire as director of athletics is looming. Names are being tossed around as potential replacements and many are skeptical that a new man leading the program will make a difference — including myself.

You are aware of the major challenges that the program faces. While this is the second largest university in the state of Ohio, the football program ranks towards the bottom.

Yes, our athletic programs overall are a success.

But the sport that brings in major dollars with bowl game appearances and national recognition is lacking.

Is Alabama known nation-wide for their water polo team? No.

Football means everything.

While you travel across the country to interview potential candidates, here are several issues that have to be fixed if you want a winning program at Kent State.

  1. Budget

Martin was the lowest paid coach in Division-I football and worked with the lowest recruiting budget in the nation. Quite frankly, for Martin to have any type of success was a surprise. Ohio is a recruiting hot bed, but Ohio State and other Bowl Championship Series schools pluck the major talent. This forced Martin to grab kids from across the country. Some were standouts like Julian Edelman. Others spent their time wearing parkas on the sidelines. Remember, Joel, you get what you pay for.

  1. Facilities

Across campus, Kent State’s athletic facilities are outdated. Dix Stadium’s surface is nice, but the stands belong at a high school field. Teams across the Mid-American Conference have built new facilities (Bowling Green and Toledo most recently). Kent State is lagging. The football team shares a weight room with every other sport, and the men’s basketball team has trouble finding a court to practice on. Recruits love facilities, which is why Oregon and USC are both putting millions and millions of dollars into the issue. Obviously, that’s unrealistic, but renovations have to take place.

  1. Support

90KSU did boost attendance to the NCAA’s requirements, but where are the students? There is no reason why students were not at the Temple game when the team was playing for the East Division. As a student, I know that the stadium being off-campus is a complete inconvenience. The University of Pittsburgh plays their games at Heinz Field, miles away from its campus, and they cannot fill their student section. Obviously, you cannot move the stadium, but you have to find a way to get the students to games. Involve the Greek community and other organizations. This season should have drawn the same student-section size you saw against Akron. There are no excuses.

Students need motivation.


Lance Lysowski

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].