Kent State’s history-making, record-breaking football season has put head coach Darrell Hazell on the radar of BCS programs with deep pockets.
With the regular season over, the coaching carousel is just starting. Just hours after beating Kent State in double overtime in the MAC Championship Game last Friday, Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren took the job at NC State.
Might Hazell be next? He mostly sidestepped questions about his future Monday afternoon at a regularly-scheduled press conference during which also he discussed Kent State’s first bowl bid in 40 years. The Golden Flashes will play Arkansas State on Jan. 6 in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Will Hazell still be coaching Kent State then? The answer for now is yes, but very much subject to change.
My question at the press conference was this: “There was a report that you met with Cal yesterday. Can you tell us how that went and if you have any feel for what might be next with that?”
Hazell’s answer: “There are so many rumors that are floating around. Every time a job comes open my name is mentioned. That’s honoring, but I can’t discuss all the rumors that are out there. I even heard a rumor this morning that Dri (Archer) might be leaving (for the NFL) and this might be happening. When something significant happens, whether it’s two years from now, three years from now, whenever it happens, I’ll be sure to be loyal to you guys (local media) because you guys have been so loyal to me and my football team. But I’ll tell my family first, I’ll tell the athletic director second, I’ll tell my team third, then I’ll make sure I come to the local media. But I’m not going to discuss all the rumors out there. Every time a job comes open, my name is going to be mentioned.”
When it comes to Cal — and he did meet with Cal officials on Sunday — that’s a classic non-denial denial. It’s unknown if he’s spoken to any other schools or if he has further meetings scheduled.
Later in the press conference, Hazell said he’d be “up front” with his players if any of them asked about any rumors or reports, but he said none have. Another question later in the press conference asked if Hazell was being contacted by schools or if he was actively pursuing outside opportunities.
“I’m not actively looking,” he said.
A classic answer. Frankly, probably one he had to give.
For now, Kent State fans can be glad he mentioned two or three years from now as a potential leaving point. But the reality is Kent State might be looking for a new head coach in two weeks.