Kent State University's
new football coach says that he's landed his "dream job."
Enabling Paul Haynes to fulfill that dream at the helm of the revitalized Golden Flashes looks like a smart move on the part of Kent State as it brings home an alumnus who is proud of the blue-and-gold and even, more importantly, knows what it's like to be a Golden Flash.
Coach Haynes is a 1992 Kent State graduate and a former walk-on who wound up starting four years at defensive back for the Golden Flashes from 1987 to 1991. He served as assistant coach at KSU from 1999-2000. He was an assistant coach at Ohio State under Jim Tressel from 2005 to 2010.
Unlike many of his predecessors, Haynes has a tough act to follow. Darrell Hazell, who left Kent State to become head coach at Purdue University, worked hard in just two short years to transform the Golden Flashes into a Cinderella team, one that brought excitement to the gridiron week after week, energizing KSU fans throughout an incredible season that brought Kent its first bowl appearance in 40 years. Filling Hazell's shoes will be a tall order, but Haynes also inherits a team that has shown it can win and undoubtedly will be anxious to repeat its performance next fall.
Haynes will be paid $375,000 per season, plus incentives, in his five-year contract with Kent State. This is $75,000 per year more than Hazell earned; the departing coach was at the bottom of the salary ladder in the Mid-American Conference. Given Kent State's performance during the past season, and considering the promise of future success, the increased pay for the new coach seems worth it.
Kent State's athletic history has been a tale of "the ones that got away" in terms of onetime Flashes who were overlooked by their alma mater when the coaching position opened, only to go on to greater glory on the gridiron. Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel, members of the Flashes' only Mid-American Conference team, the fabled squad Coach Don James took to the Tangerine Bowl in 1972, come to mind. Coach Haynes will be an exception to that rule.
"I love this place. I love Kent State," the new coach said Tuesday as his appointment was announced.
That's a great start for any new job. Paul Haynes has a dream team to coach as his own dream is fulfilled. We wish him the best and will be hoping for another Cinderella season for the Golden Flashes.