Ask around about new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell, and it’s obvious he’s made an impression everywhere he’s been.
New Purdue coach Darrell Hazell led Kent State to an 11-2 record this fall, the school's first winning season since 2001 and first bowl appearance in 40 years.
Former players love him.
High school coaches can’t say enough good things about him.
News began to leak on Dec. 4 that Hazell would be the next coach at Purdue, and it was announced publically on Dec. 5 that he’d indeed would be leaving his post at Kent State for his second head coaching job in West Lafayette.
With a strong attention to detail as both a coach and recruiter, some thought Hazell would be next in line to follow Jim Tressel at Ohio State. We all know what shook out there and now Hazell gets his crack at the Big Ten with the Boilermakers.
“He was known as a very good teacher of the game at Ohio State,” Bill Kurelic said. He’s covered the Buckeyes for over 25 years and is currently a reporter for 247Sports Ohio State affiliate Bucknuts. “One source told me that technique wise, he never saw a better coach teach technique at Ohio State.
“He certainly has as good a chance as anybody to be successful there.”
Hazell was certainly successful at his last stop. He led Kent State to an 11-2 record this fall, the school’s first winning season since 2001 and first bowl appearance in 40 years. He spent just two years with the Golden Flashes, going 16-9.
"Darrell helped put our football program on the map again and we are very grateful for his efforts," Kent State Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen said.
Even though Hazell will stay on and coach the Golden Flashes through the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6, he has also turned his efforts towards rebuilding Purdue. He’ll have an in-home visit Monday night with Boilermakers running back commit David Yancey, and he’s already visited with quarterback pledge Danny Etling.
The Boilermakers have always been able to recruit the states of Florida and Texas and should continue to do so moving forward. Expect them to be a factor in Ohio and up the East Coast as Hazell has ties in those areas as well. Prior to his seven-year ride at Ohio State, he worked as an assistant at Army, West Virginia and Rutgers. In his career Hazell has had to woo blue-chippers and he’s had to be a good evaluator of talent.
The scuttlebutt on Hazell as a recruiter is he is very accessible, has a personal touch in his recruiting delivery and he’s an honest person.
“Very good recruiter,” Mentor (Ohio) High coach Steve Trivisonno said. “He recruited several of our kids. Very personable and very impressionable guy. Our kids that met him loved being around him and I think it’s a good hire for Purdue.”
“I’ve known him a long time,” Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville assistant coach Tony Overton added. “Just a great guy, great coach. He coached Ted Ginn Jr. who was very close to me and he did a superb job with him. He works hard, stays professional and cares about children and it paid off. You see what he did for Kent State.”
Indianapolis area coaches are also excited about the potential hire. Purdue hasn’t had as much of a recruiting presence in the state capital as say Indiana and even Notre Dame, but that is another thing that could change under Hazell.
“He’s an exciting hire for a lot of reasons,” Carmel (Ind.) High coach Kevin Wright said. “He’s had success and he’s been part of successful programs in the Big Ten. If you look at what he’s done at Kent State, it’s exciting for people and Purdue fans. It’s good that they’re able to not just bring in a hot new coach but also an African American coach that I think brings a lot of positives itself in the Big Ten. I think they have an opportunity to make a splash.”
“Sounds like a good hire,” Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis head coach Mike Kirschner chimed in. “Obviously he’s been very successful and I know he was successful at Ohio State as assistant head coach under Jim Tressel . The biggest thing I think is he he’ll have to do what Kevin Wilson has done and get Indiana coaches to believe in the program. You look at their roster and they have very few Indiana kids, and I’m not saying you have to have a huge roster of Indiana kids to win, but you have to get the main kids. Listening to coach at his press conference I thought he had a lot of charisma and personality, and I think that’s going to go a long way.”