Kent State's search for its next football coach is reportedly reaching its final stages.
The finalists to replace head coach Darrell Hazell, who accepted the position as has head coach at Purdue on Dec. 5 after leading the Golden Flashes to the Mid-American Conference East Division championship and a school-record 11 wins this season, are expected to be interviewed by KSU Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen this week.
"We're narrowing down the process and determining who we're going to bring on campus, and we'll start bringing them in this week," said Nielsen. "A number of these candidates have a lot of opportunities, so you have to just not be too committed to when you're going to make a decision. But if things stay on the current timeline, this could be a big week."
Although the finalists have not been released, one name that has surfaced throughout the search for the next KSU head coach is Paul Haynes.
Haynes is a former standout defensive back at Kent State who lettered four years and finished his career with 440 tackles. He spent two years as an assistant coach with the Golden Flashes (1999-2000), then moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars as the team's defensive quality-control coach in 2001. He then spent time as an assistant at Louisville and Michigan State before joining the Ohio State staff as a defensive assistant under Jim Tressel (2005-10) and Luke Fickell (2011). He was an assistant with the Buckeyes along with Hazell from 2005-10, and spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas.
Haynes has been getting a great deal of support from Kent State alumni on various websites.
Other names that have surfaced in connection with the Flashes' head coaching position include Mark Snyder, an Ohio native who coached under Tressel at Youngstown State and Ohio State, along with current Kent State defensive coordinator Jon Heacock and offensive coordinator Brian Rock, and current Youngstown State head coach Eric Wolford.
Other candidates considered for the position include Fickell, Ohio State's defensive coordinator, who reportedly declined interest.