Purdue Hires Hazell

By Dean Pantazi
By Eric Dutkiewicz

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 5:59 PM EDT

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - Purdue University has ended its head football coaching search, announcing Wednesday that Darrell Hazell will take the Boilermakers' helm.

Hazell, 48, comes to West Lafayette from Kent State University, where he coached for two seasons. The Golden Flashes went 11-2 this season, and finished 25th in the final Bowl Championship Series poll. Hazell garnered Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors.

Hazell previously served as assistant head coach at Ohio State under Jim Tressel.

Purdue has scheduled a 7 p.m. press conference Wednesday to formally introduce Hazell.

"I'm extremely excited to work with the players at Purdue," Hazell said in an athletic department release. "Purdue University has a great football tradition, and I can't wait to get started."

Athletic director Morgan Burke stressed Hazell's offensive philosophy, and how it matches to a pass-orientated spread offense of the Boilermakers.

"He [Hazell] understands our `25/85' [run-to-pass play ratio] vision," Burke said in the statement. "He appreciates the Cradle of Quarterbacks tradition, and it will remain a focal point of our program."

Purdue football players started tweeting welcome messages to Hazell Tuesday night, indicating the hire.

"Very excited to meet Coach Hazell and make 2013 a great year for Boilermaker Football! #BoilerUp," quarterback Rob Henry (@RobHenry15) posted at about 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind., who is set to take over the Purdue presidency in January said he had no influence in the Hazell hire, but is excited about the choice.

"I believe they have a high-integrity, high-character person," Daniels said in a 21Alive interview Wednesday. "I hope that it will work out well for the young men who play for him. And, of course, I hope we'll see a lot of wins."

Hazell will become the first African-American football coach in Purdue history, and the fourth-ever in the Big Ten Conference.

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