Canton Repository: Kent State football coach to tap Stark for talent
By Mike Popovich, Canton Repository
Darrell Hazell couldn’t believe his eyes.
The former Ohio State assistant knew he would have his hands
full when he took over as Kent State’s head football coach.
When he looked at the Golden Flashes’ roster the first time,
he noticed something missing right away.
“I saw no Stark County guys,” Hazell told the Pro
Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club on Monday. “I was
appalled. Absolutely shocked.
“I’ve played with them. I’ve coached them.
I’ve watched coaches here coach. And I love who these people
are in this county. They’re football-educated. They’re
smart. They’re tough. And they’re extremely
That’s why Hazell wants to make an impact in recruiting
Stark County while trying to turn Kent State’s program
The Flashes have not won a Mid-American Conference title in
almost 40 years. Their last winning season was 2001. Prior to that,
Kent State finished under .500 for 13 straight years.
Hazell, who was hired in December, feels Kent State needs some
Stark County influence.
“If we’re going to take a class of 20, we’re
going to take two or three guys out of this county to change the
culture of Kent State football,” he said.
To prove his point about the quality of high school football
players the Stark County area produces, Hazell read off some
“Todd Blackledge, Richard Himes, Dan Dierdorf, Mike Doss,
Dustin Fox, Tim Fox, Mark Murphy, Wayne Fontes, Brian Hartline,
Mike Hartline, Tim Huffman, Kirk Lowdermilk, Marion Motley, Alan
Page, Kenny Peterson, Percy Snow, Paul Brown ...
“All these guys came from this area and ended up in the
NFL in some capacity,” Hazell said. “And I’m sure
I forgot a couple guys.
“The point is, who are the next guys from this area who
will reach that level, which is obviously the highest level in our
The 2011 Flashes are already one loss away from finishing under
.500 again. Four of the six losses have come by 8 points or less,
including Saturday’s 9-3 home defeat to Miami.
Kent State’s defense and special teams have played well.
The offense has struggled.
“We can’t get a first down, and that’s a
problem,” Hazell said. “It’s very frustrating to
be on the sidelines with your hand cuffed a little bit.
“I have five weeks of the season left to get our guys recommitted to the things that we’re capable of doing.”