KENT– Goodbye Kent State! That’s what head football coach Darrell Hazell said Wednesday morning to his team. Hazell is leaving to take over as head football coach at Purdue University.
Two years ago, the 48-year-old came to Kent State ready to revive a football program that was in cardiac arrest. He’s now leaving the University after putting Kent State back on the football map.
“I coached for 27 years in college football and I realized this is part of the business and opportunities like this do not come around every single day and when they do, you are not guaranteed anything,” said Hazell. “You look at them closely and you see if they fit you and then you have to make a decision.”
Hazell made his decision earlier this week. He is leaving Kent State to become the head football coach at Purdue University. “It’s an opportunity that is very positive for me that I feel that I need to do it,” he said.
Hazell informed the Kent State football players of his decision in an early morning meeting on Wednesday.
“You hate to see him go but you know you wish him luck wherever he goes. So, you know we have nothing but love for him and I look at him like a second father,” said wide receiver, Shawn Taylor.
“It was a shock though because he recruited me. He is a great coach, phenomenal coach and I hate to see him leave,” defensive end Colton Kmetz said.
In two years, Hazell guided the Golden Flashes to a 16-9 record, the school’s first-ever MAC East Division championship and a bowl appearance for the first time in 40 years.
“He’s going from a small school to a big school which I can’t blame him for. I don’t want him to go,” said KSU student Jesse Burns. “He took us from a team that nobody knew about to a team that was almost in a BCS Bowl this year.”
Hazell will coach the Golden Flashes in the GoDaddy.com bowl game on January 6 in Mobile, Alabama.
“Thanks for all for coming,” Hazell said as he left the room. He will be introduced as Purdue’s head coach at a news conference Wednesday night at 7:00. His contract at Purdue is reportedly a six-year, $12 million deal. His base salary at Kent State was $300,000.