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Hazell to Purdue: Fans Disappointed but Not Surprised By Departure

Kent State students and fans shared their thoughts on the Golden Flashes football coach leaving for Purdue University.

Kent State Football Coach Darrell Hazell's announcement that he was leaving for Purdue didn't come as a surprise to Evan Graening.

Graening, a senior public relations major at Kent State University, said he knew it was a foregone conclusion.

"To be honest it wasn't really a shock," Graening said Wednesday. "I know when we started winning, my friends and I knew if it wasn't this year, it would happen next year."

Hazell held a press conference Wednesday morning announcing his decision to leave Kent State for the Big Ten team.

Graening doesn't harbor any hard feelings and believes Hazell is making the best decision for himself. He does feel bad, however, for the players who are losing a terrific coach.

"During the (MAC) championship game my friend looked at me and said, 'It was great having Hazell,'" Graening said. "So we kind of already knew he was gonna' go."

Hazell, who led the Kent State Golden Flashes (11-2, 8-0 MAC) to their first bowl game appearance this year in more than 40 years, had been rumored to be a candidate in several head coaching jobs across the country.

"It's good for him to get a better paycheck and go onto another team," Nancy Urchak, a senior photo journalism major, said. "He had his run here at Kent and he's moving on."

While it might hurt the team initially, she said, it will be an opportunity for them to see how good they really are.

Despite the news, some are already looking ahead.

Lucas Wickiser, a junior applied communications major, said he wishes Hazell the best but hopes the Kent State program keeps building off this successful season.

"I hope we keep heading in the same direction and head back to the MAC Championship and win this time," Wickiser said.

He trusts that Kent State Athletic Director Joel Nielson will make the right decision to fill the job after Hazell.

"Nielson has seen this success with Hazell and will hire someone who can replicate that."

Seniors Rachel Gobels and Clarissa Pullins have actually met the Golden Flashes coach while working with the team and had nothing but good things to say about him.

"We got to meet him and he's a really nice guy and great coach," Pullins said. "It's sad."

"It's sad because we finally made it really far in football and now he's leaving," Gobels added.

In most towns there is no better place to talk sports than the local barber shop. At Jason's Barbershop in Acorn Alley there was no shortage of opinions.

Jason Manion said he doesn't blame Hazell for taking the money and his friend Jason Fabic agrees.

"If it was me, I'd take it too," Fabic said.

Though it should be noted no details were released by Purdue in their announcement of Hazell's hiring about his contract or salary. And Hazell declined to comment on his contract with either school when asked at this morning's press conference.

Fabic said he's disappointed, especially thinking about the players moving forward: "How's the team going to react to that?"

While he's disappointed, Manion knows Hazell has the experience now to be a good coach in a tougher conference.

"He's been in the Big Ten before. He's coached under Tressel, so he's been there before," Manion said. "He's a good coach. He'll have a lot of success with Purdue. It's just too bad we have to start over."

RELATED COVERAGE:

  • Report: Hazell Leaving Kent State for Purdue Job
  • Dream Season for Golden Flashes to Culminate at GoDaddy.com Bowl

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