KENT, Ohio - The search for a new head coach is over for Kent State and ultimately the Golden Flashes did not have to look far in naming one of their own as the 21st head coach in program history with Paul Haynes accepting the job publically at a Tuesday press conference.
Haynes once played on the fields that he will now coach on the sidelines of as a four year starter at Kent State in the late 1980s and will replace a former colleague at Ohio State in Darrell Hazell who is leaving to take the head coaching job at Purdue after Kent State's bowl game in January of 2013.
"This has been a whirlwind, and I can't begin to describe my excitement about the opportunity to come back to Kent State as head coach," said Haynes. "Being a former player and assistant coach here, and now coming back at a time where there is so much pride around the football program and the university, it is unbelievable."
Joel Nielsen, Director of Athletics, had the pleasure of introducing Haynes to the media after a coaching search that lasted just shy of two weeks.
"I am very excited to welcome Paul back to the Kent State family," said Nielsen. "During our search for a new head coach, I was looking for someone who had the qualities that could carry on the recent success of the football program. Those qualities include leadership, a genuine interest in our student-athletes, integrity and an understanding of Kent State and the Mid-American Conference. Ohio recruiting ties were also very important. Paul hits on every one of those areas. In hiring Paul we are also making a significant investment in the head coaching position here at Kent State."
Haynes will return to the state of Ohio after spending the last year in Arkansas where he served as defensive coordinator for the Razorbacks. Before that he spent the previous seven seasons at Ohio State where he coached the Buckeyes as both the safeties coach and as a co-defensive coordinator.
"My family and I are excited about coming back to Ohio," Haynes added. "I'm looking forward to getting involved with the players and embracing the Kent State alumni."
Haynes not only played at Kent State but also spent two seasons as an assistant coach under former head coach Dean Pees. In Haynes' second season at Kent State he was elevated from a position coach to the title of Assistant Head Coach to go along with his duties of coaching the safeties.
The new head coach is an Ohio native, playing his high school football at St. Francis DeSales high school in Columbus (Ohio) and was known during his playing days at Kent State as "Ice". The former walk-on led the team in interceptions during his freshman year before leading the team in tackles as a sophomore. Haynes missed the 1989 season with a knee injury and took a medical redshirt before finishing out his final two seasons to wind up his career with 440 tackles for the team, a mark that ranks 7th in team history.