Monday, December 10, 2012

Analyzing Coach Hazell's Decision to Coach Kent St in Bowl Game

As you likely know, we're quite excited about the Darrell Hazell hire here at BS. Of course, it wouldn't be BS if we weren't being honest and giving you our full perspective. To that end, I wanted to make a couple quick comments here regarding Coach Hazell's decision to continue to coach Kent State during bowl season.

Ordinarily, coaches sever ties immediately with their previous employer once they accept a new coaching gig. Many say they'd like to coach their former team but also understand that those programs need to move forward with decisions and cut ties to make things clear to everyone remaining at the program as to who is in charge. Coach Hazell is running some of the Golden Flashes bowl practices and will, as of now, be coaching them in the bowl on January 6. (Which, you know, wouldn't it have been nice if they were in one of the earlier bowls? Like, say, this coming weekend?)

He's also out on the recruiting trail for Purdue and intends to be present at the Boilers' Jan 1 Heart of Dallas Bowl appearance versus the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. I like this for a lot of reasons, mainly because he'll be evaluating not only the players on the field but the remaining Purdue coaching staff. As b-dowd noted last week, there are some guys on the staff who deserve some consideration so this is a good thing.

Going back to Coach Hazell pulling double duty, I will admit that my first thoughts were that it isn't a good idea. I don't like the idea of him splitting time. He's Purdue's coach now, and while that might sound selfish, Purdue is reportedly paying him $2M/year so I think that's adequate compensation to expect his full, undivided attention. I do think it says a lot about the man that he really wants to finish what he started this season at Kent State, but let's be honest -- it's the Bowl, not a BCS bowl game. I'd understand the latter a bit more, actually, because it would mean so much to the program. But a meaningless bowl like the GoDaddy? I don't see it.

I also know that there is an argument that his players -- especially the seniors -- deserve to have him there, and that is somewhat true. However, he's already jumped ship, regardless of how nicely he did it. I don't think he screwed over those players and everything we've heard indicates they don't think he did, either. So what more does he owe them?

All that said, I do find it interesting that he'll be coaching and it's something that will make me tune in and see how the Flashes do. If they have a memorable night on the eve of the national title game, then that really should mean good things for Purdue in terms of press -- hey, this is the guy the Boilermakers got.

Looks good in Black and Gold
The final thought that concerns me is simply borne out of being a Purdue fan and always expecting the worst. I know he's signed at Purdue (at least, he damn well better be), but you never want a guy to have the chance to go back to his old, comfortable situation and decide he just can't leave those boys and that next year could be even better, etc. My cynical mind says, "What if he's really comfortable there and they somehow offer him a raise?" I know they can't pay him $2M, so it really should be moot -- but if you're a Purdue fan, you understand my slight uneasiness. No, I don't think he's going anywhere -- it's just that until he's 100% in black and gold, there's a nervousness I can't shake. Again, this is simply being a Boilermaker fan and not wanting bad things to happen to our program.

I'm definitely curious in others' opinions and so please weigh in here and in the poll at the right. What do you think about Coach Hazell coaching his Golden Flashes one more time while already under contract at Purdue?


B-Kizzle said...

The only thing is that the bowl isn't meaningless to Kent. It's their first bowl in 42 years. It's a HUGE deal for them. I'm completely fine with him staying and supporting his coaches, players, and former school through such a momentous occasion.

COD said...

Actually, I've always sort of wondered why more coaches don't do this. You work all year to get to to a bowl game, then bail before you get to coach in it. Personally, I wouldn't be upset if the NCAA put some sort of moratorium on hiring between the end of the season and the bowl games. That would also allow teams time to interview more candidates and not force the teams and coaches to make big decisions within a week. Hell, interviewed me 10 times for a freaking sales job that I didn't get. Purdue talked to Hazell 3 times over 48 hours and gave him a 12 million dollar deal.

chevys10 said...

I'm cool with it, so long as recruiting and the search for assistants doesn't suffer. Like b-kizzle said, it's a big deal to KSU, and they should be proud to be in the game. Sounds the mark of a pretty stand up guy that he even wants to coach them. I would assume their chances of winning are FAR better with him on the sidelines.

I would have a little more of a problem with it if he were coaching a B1G school, or if we were PLAYING them. Other than that, I wish him luck on his last "HURRAH" as a Flash!

Plang said...

I feel ya, J.
On one hand it looks great that he has that much of a commitment to the school/team/plays that he is willing to pull this extra workload. On the other hand, the ol' black and gold demons pop up and start to startle us because he isn't acting like 95% of the other coaches out there.

And maybe that really is what this program needs: someone in that 5% who wants to do things right. We'll see. At this point, I'm not overly worried about it. Just slightly so...

Aaron Mayne said...

COD - one of the the reasons that more coaches don't do this, is that unless they can get a waiver from the NCAA (which I hear coach Hazell has applied for) they're not allowed to contact any recruits on behalf of their new job while they are still coaching the old team.

WinamacBoiler said...

He must have got the waiver, b/c supposedly he was in Yancey's living room today. I don't know all the rules re: commit vs. recruit tho.

I have two comments: one about Hazell and one about Purdue. For Hazell, kudos for finishing what you started and having the drive to get both jobs done. If you ask me the idea of having a lockout period of sorts is a good one. Make a rule that if a coach coaches his last regular season game, he has to stay for the bowl unless fired, or something like that. Would avoid situations where both teams playing in January are without coaches.

For Purdue, it says a lot about the state of our program. The fact that Coach Hazell would even make the request tells you he knew damn well we weren't in a position to tell him no!

Brad said...

I think it says a lot about him that he made the request, and it says a lot about his relationship with his players and the Kent State athletic department that they'd allow him to stay on. I think this may actually have some recruiting benefit, because it's a signal to incoming Purdue recruits that he really cares about "his kids" and wants to see them through the finish.

The only downside is that I kind of agree with Winamac above -- I sometimes wish that coaching at Purdue was such a desirable job that we could have just told him no and not even worry about the consequences. But if we'd told him no, he very well might have turned us down and gotten snapped up by another school that would have told him yes.

boiler2000CE said...

I've got an uneasy feeling about Hazell coaching Kent St's bowl game. It's kind of like when you start dating a new girl and she tells you she's having lunch with her ex-boyfriend next week.

jbrunner said...

I'm pretty sure Hazell signed the contract already. That said...I don't really get the worries about what coaching the bowl game might imply. Everything out there suggests he'll be ready to roll at Purdue. We're paying far more than Kent State can afford...and it's obvious that Hazell really wanted a B1G head job. He's ours.

PUhopeless said...

I'm perfectly fine with it as long as Hope is nowhere to be seen at OUR bowl game!! I'd really love it if Hazell wore his Kent gear but had on a PU hat!

U-P Boiler said...

I LIKE that he's coaching the bowl game - because nobody else does that. I think it makes him stand out even more. Especially being that he's also going to be at Purdue's bowl game.

Look, the guy has said all the right things so far. He's the Anti-Petrino as far as I can see. If, in the unlikely event, he goes back on his word and stays at Kent State, well then, I think Purdue dodged a bullet.

Everything from people who know him indicates that this simply will not be the case.

The last time I felt this excited for the future was after Purdue beat Wisconsin in 1997. I really believe Hazell's the real deal.

BoilerBloodline said...

I'm fine with it and have ZERO concerns of him changing his mind. He is obviously a man that keeps his word and see no issue....especially if I keep seeing these types of things..

boilerbugle said...

I've been trying to let this sink in. I find it admirable that he's coaching in the bowl for Kent. But... here's my Purdue fan complex coming through... I think this wouldn't happen at a big-time program. Would a place like OSU or Texas or Alabama allow a new hire to stay coaching at his former team? BSers who are know more than me, any examples? Or is it just not applicable? Maybe we'll find out when Purdue is playing in the rose bowl and Hazell gets hired by an SEC team.