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Darrell Hazell was named the 35th head football coach in Purdue University history Dec. 5, 2012. He signed a six-year contract with the Boilermakers.
A solid foundation has been laid under Hazell from which the Boilermakers again can compete for the Big Ten Conference championship and return to the Rose Bowl. His fourth Purdue team is determined to focus, fight and finish.
"From the outside, it may be hard to see the progress we have made the last three seasons," Hazell said. "But I do, and that's what excites me about our future."
To further illustrate the current state of his program, Hazell has referenced a billboard on Interstate 65 south of campus that declared "The Train is Coming."
"The first year I saw it I said, `It's OK.' The second and third year I said, `You know what, it's starting to bother me a little bit.' In the back of my mind, I thought: `At some point in time the train has to get here. It has to arrive.'
"That sign is no longer there."
A significant piece of a successful program is academic achievement. Through the 2016 spring semester, the Boilermakers boasted a composite grade-point average of 2.89, the highest mark on record (since 2001), and the team received the athletics department Provost Award for having the most improved GPA from the fall to spring semester.
At the same time, the Boilermakers have participated in a variety of community service activities, ranging from the program's annual blood drive to speaking at area schools and visiting retirement homes and hospitals.
Hazell (HAY-zull) came to the Boilermakers from Kent State, where he served as head coach in 2011 and 2012, compiling a 16-10 record. The Golden Flashes enjoyed arguably their most-successful season ever in 2012. They finished 11-3, won their first-ever Mid-American Conference East Division Championship and played in their first bowl game in 40 years -- the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Arkansas State.
Hazell was named the 2012 MAC Coach of the Year, the third Kent State coach to be so honored, following Don James (1972) and Glen Mason (1986).
Kent State's 11 wins set a school record. The Flashes won six games on the road, including a 35-23 victory at No. 15 Rutgers, their first-ever against a ranked opponent. They became the first MAC East team to finish 8-0 in the conference since 2003 and climbed to as high as No. 17 in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
Off the field, Kent State football players became more visible in the community under Hazell, while the team GPA improved. During the 2012 spring semester, a program-record 50 players had GPA's above 3.0.
Prior to his stint at Kent State, Hazell spent seven seasons at Ohio State, where he served as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach under Jim Tressel. From 2005 to 2010, the Buckeyes won six consecutive Big Ten Conference championships and played in six straight BCS bowls, including appearances in the 2007 and 2008 national championship games. Ohio State featured dual-threat quarterbacks Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor, and among its receivers were Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez, Santonio Holmes and DeVier Posey.
A 30-year veteran of the college coaching ranks, Hazell previously coached at Rutgers (2001-03), West Virginia (1999-2000), the U.S. Military Academy (1997-98), Western Michigan (1995-96), Pennsylvania (1992-94), Eastern Illinois (1988) and Oberlin (1986-87, 1989-91).
Hazell is a 1986 graduate of Muskingum College with a B.A. in speech communications and business. He was a three-time all-conference selection as a wide receiver, setting still-existing school records for career receptions (132) and receiving yards (1,966). As a senior, he earned All-America honors and was voted a team captain.
A native of Cinnaminson, New Jersey, Hazell (born April 14, 1964) and Annmarie have a son, Kyle. Their dog, Diesel, is a black lab with gold eyes.
HAZELL COACHING HISTORY
2013- Purdue (head coach)
2011-12 - Kent State (head coach)
2005-10 - Ohio State (assistant head coach/wide receivers)
2004 - Ohio State (wide receivers/kick returns)
2003 - Rutgers (assistant head coach)
2001-02 - Rutgers (wide receivers)
1999-00 - West Virginia (running backs)
1997-98 - U.S. Military Academy (wide receivers/tight ends)
1995-96 - Western Michigan (wide receivers)
1992-94 - Pennsylvania (running backs)
1989-91 - Oberlin College (offensive coordinator)
1988 - Eastern Illinois (running backs/wide receivers)
1986-87 - Oberlin College (running backs)
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT DARRELL HAZELL
Bill Polian, longtime NFL executive (Buffalo Bills 1986-93, Carolina Panthers 1994-97, Indianapolis Colts 1998-2011)
"Darrell Hazell did a great job at Kent State, where he turned the program around overnight. He is well-respected by the entire football community, and he has deep roots in the Midwest. His first-hand knowledge and experience with what it takes to excel in the Big Ten will serve him well him in his new post, and I know he is eager to accept the challenge of bringing Purdue back to the top. Darrell is the right man at the right time for Purdue."
Ryan Grigson, General Manager, Indianapolis Colts
"I am both excited and relieved to have the caliber of head coach coming to West Lafayette that we do in Darrell Hazell. It is a great fit on multiple levels. What he has done at Kent State is truly remarkable. Taking a program in two years that had not been in a bowl game since 1972 and in his second season leading them to 11 wins, a national ranking and a bowl bid speaks for itself. During the vetting process, the words that kept coming out of people's mouths about Coach Hazell were intensity, intelligence and character. I am confident Purdue football is clearly in the right hands."
Rick Smith, Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, Houston Texans
"First of all, I would like to compliment and congratulate Morgan Burke on conducting a thorough and exhaustive search that led us to an outstanding hire and the right man to guide our football program. Coach Hazell is a disciplined, focused, hard-working coach with championship pedigree that understands what it takes to win in the Big Ten Conference. I am excited to welcome him to the Boilermaker family. He knows we have a history to be proud of and, given his passion and leadership, I am confident we have a future to believe in."