By Allen Moff | Staff writer
Kent State head coach Paul Haynes has officially announced the retention of four assistant coaches and the appointment of seven new members to his football staff. Assembled together at the M.A.C. Center offices for the first time on Friday, the new staff will hit the recruiting trail Monday as they prepare for National Signing Day on Feb. 6.
The 2013 Golden Flashes will be led by familiar faces on both sides of the ball, as Brian Rock enters his third season as offensive coordinator and Brian George begins his first season as defensive coordinator after spending two seasons as Kent State's defensive line coach.
"I've seen the work that coach Rock has done to develop quarterbacks through the years," Haynes said. "And the opportunity to keep him will only enhance us as we move forward.
"I've known of coach George through the years, and two good football friends of mine spoke very highly of him. With his intelligence and ability to develop players, it was an easy choice."
Also entering their third year on staff will be safeties coach Jeff Burrow and special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Dave McMichael.
"In talking with all of the previous staff, the one thing that got so much better from the previous year was the special teams after coach McMichael was named coordinator," Haynes said. "He's a tremendous asset to this program.
"Everyone spoke so highly of coach Burrow not only as a football coach, but as a person. And I want to surround myself with positive people like him."
Staying in the Mid-American Conference will be cornerbacks coach Amp Campbell, who was the secondary coach at Western Michigan for the past three seasons.
"The first two people that called me after I took the job were Dean Pees and Mark Dantonio," Haynes said. "Both of them are my mentors, and when they gave their stamp of approval on coach Campbell, it was a no-brainer for me."
Ben Needham, who worked with Haynes at Arkansas and Ohio State, will now serve as Kent State's linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator.
"Coach Needham has been with me for a while and is a great person with a brilliant mind," Haynes said. "I knew I was going to hire him full-time the first chance I got."
Taking on the role of receivers coach is Doc Gamble, who most recently served as running backs/tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Alcorn State.
"I've known coach Gamble since he was a high school coach at Cincinnati Withrow," Haynes said. "His reputation in that area will help us tremendously with recruiting in that area, and he'll be a great asset to us."
Also on offense, Ted Bahhur returns to his alma mater as a running backs coach. Bahhur most recently served as offensive coordinator at Chattahoochee Tech.
"Coach Bahhur was actually in school while I was here," Haynes said. "He's got head coaching experience and did a great job of building a program at Clark Atlanta University."
The offensive line will be led by Shawn Clark, who spent the previous four seasons coaching Purdue's offensive line.
"I've known coach Clark since we were at Louisville in 2001," Haynes said. "He's one of the best offensive line coaches out there. He's developed a number of all-conference players and All-Americans at both Eastern Kentucky and Purdue."
The Flashes' strength and conditioning coach will be Antoine Sharp, who was on staff with Haynes at Arkansas, where he spent five seasons.
"Coach Sharp will definitely get our guys bigger, stronger and faster," Haynes said. "The thing I love about him is his energy and his passion, and our players will love that too."
Zack Tilves was elevated to full-time status as director of football operations after spending the previous six years as a student assistant and assistant director of football operations.
"He's a Kent State alum who knows the program, knows the city and is well connected, and that's what that position needs to be," said Haynes. "I was very impressed with him, and once I spent time around him it was obvious that he should get the job."
The Golden Flashes are coming off an unprecedented 11-win season, going 8-0 in Mid-American Conference play to capture the MAC East Division title. They also earned the program's first bowl berth in 40 seasons.