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By Allen Moff | Staff Writer
Darrell Hazell was at Purdue all of last week, and spent much of that time interviewing current members of the Boilermakers' staff who worked under previous coach Danny Hope.
"I'm working through the process still," said Hazell. "I spent last week interviewing previous staff members and all the support staff, secretaries, (graduate assistants). I interviewed 28 people last week and tried to make some decisions there. And we'll keep working at it this week. We have some time now because it's a (recruiting) dead period for the next three weeks. It's just about getting the right guys."
Staff members from both Purdue and Kent State have been placed in a difficult position since Hazell was hired by the Boilermakers, wondering if they still have a job.
"Those are hard situations there, cause you've got so many good guys on this staff," said Hazell. "I'm gonna talk to the staff members individually today about which direction I'm going in. I owe that to them. Those guys have done everything I've asked them to do."
Among the many Kent State staff members that Hazell could choose to take with him to Purdue are offensive coordinator Brian Rock and defensive coordinator Jon Heacock, linebackers coach Marcus Freeman, strength and conditioning coach Doug Davis, and director of football operations Tommy Cook.
FINISHING WHAT HE STARTED
Although handling two jobs over the past 12 days has been extremely difficult, Hazell is thrilled about receiving the opportunity to coach Kent State in its first bowl game in 40 years.
"Finishing what we started, that's the big thing," said Hazell. "We set out at the beginning of the season and talked about winning a championship, and talked about playing in a bowl game and winning a bowl game. So it's pretty special for me to be around these guys for the last couple of weeks."
Hazell is glad he won't have to watch from afar while a team he coached plays its bowl game for the second time in his career.
"I did that once before. I left West Virginia right before we went to a bowl game to take the Rutgers job (in 2000)," Hazell recalled. "That was really hard."
Pulling double-duty hasn't been a picnic either, Hazell admitted.
"It's just a lot of work, but it's all good," said a cheerful Hazell following Monday's practice. "All my recruiting for Kent State ceased last week, and I'm now able to recruit for Purdue. I set the schedule a week ago, and I kind of had it where this week is pretty much a Kent State week. My concentration now is to get these guys ready to go down and compete as hard as they can in the bowl game.
"I'm studying film like I normally do, making sure we have a good gameplan. It's exciting."
The Flashes will practice today, Wednesday and Friday before receiving a break for Christmas.