Bowl pits interim coach versus outgoing coach after Malzahn, Hazell leaving

The news conference promoting the Bowl didn't have any coach on hand.

Darrell Hazell, who will be leaving No. 25 Kent State after the Jan. 5 game to take over at Purdue, wasn't available Thursday. Neither was Gus Malzahn, who has already left Arkansas State to lead Auburn's program.

Defensive coordinator John Thompson will be interim coach for the Red Wolves, but wasn't here either.

It's Kent State's first bowl in 40 years. Athletic director Joel Nielson says having Hazell stick around for the game is "a great thing for our team."

This is the fifth straight year that at least one of the head coaches has not coached in the bowl game because they have taken another job. It's the first time other schools have hired both coaches.