A source confirmed with the Record-Courier late Monday night that Kent State University and Paul Haynes had agreed in principal to a contract that would make the former Arkansas defensive coordinator the new football head coach of the Golden Flashes.
A 2:30 p.m. press conference, on the second floor of the student center, has been scheduled for today to formally announce and introduce Haynes.
After arriving in Kent on Sunday night, Haynes was on the KSU campus on Monday and was interviewed by Kent State Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen.
Haynes served as the defensive coordinator last season at Arkansas, after spending the previous seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State. He was the Buckeyes’ defensive backs coach under Jim Tressel from 2005-10, when former Flashes head football coach Darrell Hazell served as OSU’s assistant head coach and wide receivers coach, then was promoted to co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach in 2011 under Luke Fickell before accepting the Razorbacks’ top defensive post in December of 2011.
Haynes, a Columbus native, walked on at Kent State in 1987 following a standout prep career at DeSales High School and wound up leading the team in interceptions as a freshman with three. As a sophomore in 1988 he led the Flashes with 116 tackles. After missing the 1989 campaign with a knee injury, he once again led the team in tackles in 1990 with 133 and finished his career as the seventh-leading tackler in KSU history with 440 stops.
Haynes played for three different coaches at Kent State: Glen Mason, Dick Crum and Pete Cordelli.
Haynes started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green in 1994, then spent time at Ferris State and Northern Iowa before joining Pees’ staff at Kent State in 1989. He then served one year in the NFL as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ quality control coach, then spent time as the defensive backs coach at Louisville and Michigan State before joining the Buckeyes staff in 2005.
The Flashes are seeking a replacement for Hazell, who accepted a six-year, $12 million offer to become head coach at Purdue University on Dec. 5. Hazell has compiled a 16-9 record in two seasons, and led Kent State to a school-record 11 wins this year. The Flashes (11-2) earned the Mid-American Conference East Division championship, their first title of any kind since 1972, and will play in a bowl game for the first time since that same season when they battle Sun Belt Conference champion Arkansas State (9-3) in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.