Good for Purdue. Good for Darrell Hazell. Not so good for Kent State.
That's the general sentiment of college football analysts and writers around the country regarding Golden Flashes' Coach Darrell Hazell leaving for Purdue.
The 2012 MAC Coach of the Year winner announced Wednesday that he accepted the head coaching job at Purdue, even though he will still coach Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6.
Media outlets around the country have picked up the story of Hazell's departure and most see it as a great move for Purdue and the Big Ten Conference.
Hazell will be just the fourth black coach in Big Ten history
USA Today's Bob Kravitz wrote Thursday that Purdue's hiring Hazell was a terrific move, but not just because of his coaching ability.
"This is important, not simply because a black coach is getting hired, but because a black coach is getting an opportunity other black coaches haven't received — a chance to run a program that has every chance to win," Kravitz wrote in his USA Today column.
Hazell becomes only the fourth black coach ever in Big Ten history, according to Kravitz.
His pedigree and energy could spark Purdue and its fans
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg mentions Hazell's lack of head coaching experience in his recent College Football Nation blog, but notes that his long background at Ohio State and winning at Kent State may go a long way.
"As MAC jobs go, Kent State isn't one of the best, and Hazell made the Flashes into a winner," Rittenberg wrote in his blog. "As Big Ten jobs go, Purdue's isn't near the top, either, but Hazell also can succeed there."
He believes that while Hazell isn't a big-name coach, his personality and record will help win over the Purdue faithful.
Hazell should bring energy to Boilermakers
Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke believes Hazell will help build a Purdue team that has seen poor attendance recently, according to Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Carmin said the athletic director wanted to "excite the fanbase."
Hazell said during his press conference Wednesday night that he will go through the campus and rally the fans, hopefully with the energy his new team will play with.
“There’s something there and I think our fan base, based upon the response that I’ve gotten and what I’ve seen out there, are starting to catch it," Burke said.
Players hope to shine under their new coach
While players at Kent State will miss their beloved leader, the boys at Purdue are excited for next season under Hazell, especially his offense.
“That’s definitely exciting to hear as a wide receiver,” junior receiver O.J. Ross told The Exponent, Purdue's student paper. “It gives me a little boost to show my talents more than I have. It’s a chance for me.”
Sports writer Travis Baugh said both offensive and defensive players are "thrilled" with the hire.
"Junior cornerback Ricardo Allen, who knows a thing or two about turnovers himself as the Boilers all-time leader in interceptions for touchdowns, likes the emphasis Hazell’s defenses place on turning the ball over," Baugh wrote.