Kent State University has selected a new head football coach in Paul Haynes, who was introduced during a Tuesday news conference.
Haynes, a Kent State alumni, becomes the 21st head coach in Golden Flashes' history and replaces Darrell Hazell, who left to take the head coaching job at Purdue in early December.
The 43-year-old had spent this past season as the defensive coordinator at Kent State following a seven-year stint as an assistant at Ohio State.
"I am very excited to welcome Paul back to the Kent State family," said Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen. "During our search for a new head coach, I was looking for someone who had the qualities that could carry on the recent success of the football program. Those qualities include leadership, a genuine interest in our student-athletes, integrity and an understanding of Kent State and the Mid-American Conference. Ohio recruiting ties were also very important. Paul hits on every one of those areas. In hiring Paul we are also making a significant investment in the head coaching position here at Kent State."
Haynes, who has a long history of molding defenses, will get his first crack at a head coaching gig with Kent State, where he played as a defensive back from 1987-92 and also spent some of his earlier years as an assistant coach.
He served as the defensive backs coach for the Flashes in 1999 before being promoted to assistant head coach and safeties coach in 2000.
"This has been a whirlwind, and I can't begin to describe my excitement about the opportunity to come back to Kent State as head coach," said Haynes. "Being a former player and assistant coach here, and now coming back at a time where there is so much pride around the football program and the university, it is unbelievable. My family and I are excited about coming back to Ohio. I'm looking forward to getting involved with the players and embracing the Kent State alumni."
Hazell led Kent State to an 11-2 record and an appearance in the MAC championship game in 2012, establishing a new program record for victories in a season. The Golden Flashes received a bid to the Jan. 6 GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, AL, where they will face Arkansas State.