It didn’t take long for Kent State officials to take a liking to Paul Haynes, whom they brought to campus Monday morning to interview for the school’s vacant football coaching position.
About 12 hours later, Haynes, a former KSU walk-on player and assistant coach, had agreed to terms to become the program’s 21st coach as Darrell Hazell’s replacement. Kent State athletic sources confirmed both sides met throughout the day Monday and agreed to terms a little after 9 p.m.
A news conference to introduce Haynes has been set for 2:30 p.m. today.
Hazell, who is now Purdue’s head coach, announced his resignation after two seasons Dec. 5. Although Hazell and his staff are staying on to coach the 11-2 Flashes in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6, Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen wanted to bring a new coach in the fold as soon as possible.
“Time is of the essence, but we are going to take our time and get the right guy,” Nielsen wrote in his athletic department blog Saturday. “Two years ago, we probably met with between eight and 10 candidates. This time around it has been six or eight. I don’t know how many exactly will get to that second round.”
Turns out, only Haynes did, which is understandable given his ties to Ohio and Kent State.
Haynes, 43, first arrived on campus in 1987 as a walk-on defensive player and went on to play four years. As a freshman he led the team in interceptions. The following year, he led KSU in tackles with 116.
A knee injury sidelined Haynes for a season before he returned to the Flashes for his final two years, finishing his career as KSU’s seventh-all time leading tackler with 440 stops.
Haynes left Kent State after a handful of seasons to begin his coaching career, then returned in 1999 as KSU’s secondary coach, followed by serving as an assistant head coach/safeties coach during the 2000 season.
Last season, Haynes served as the Arkansas defensive coordinator and secondary coach after spending the previous seven seasons at Ohio State, coaching alongside Hazell.
“Paul’s a good guy,” Hazell said. “He’ll relate well with the kids … and he’ll bring some of the same things we do now along with him.”
With the Buckeyes, Haynes was the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 2011 after working with the defensive backs from 2005-10. During his time in Columbus, Ohio State compiled a 66-11 record, won six Big Ten titles and played in six consecutive BCS games.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.