2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search: Paul Haynes
Candidate Tier: MAC-ontagious
Who Is He?
Paul Haynes is in his fourth year as Kent State’s head coach, taking over for Darrell Hazell in 2013.
Haynes has taken a path extremely similarly to Darrell Hazell, working through his mid-forties as an assistant all across the Midwest before landing his first head coaching opportunity at Kent State (his alma mater). With defensive back coaching stops at Bowling Green, Northern Iowa, Louisville, and Michigan State, plus defensive coordinator stops at Ohio State and Arkansas, Haynes has been a sought-after assistant for quite some time.
After Darrell Hazell’s miracle year at Kent State in 2012, where he went 11-1 before losing in both the MAC Championship Game to Dave Doehren’s NIU team (in a double overtime classic) and the GoDaddy.com Bowl vs Arkansas State. It was Kent State’s first bowl game since 1972, however, and everything looked primed for success for Paul Haynes’ return to campus.
But…uuh…it turns out that Hazell might have been extremely lucky during that 2012 season. Hazell eeked out close victories against Ball State, #18 Rutgers, Miami OH, and Bowling Green, and some significant talent left the team either before or a year into Haynes’ tenure (Dri Archer, Spencer Keith, Luke Batton). Haynes wasn’t left with much, and things aren’t looking too bright after three years on the job.
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
Because he’s been a long time assistant for successful programs like Michigan State, Ohio State, Louisville, and Arkansas? And…is largely unproven at Kent State? You’re right, let’s pass.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
Because his resume is alarmingly similar to Darrell Hazell’s in 2012, without the benefit of an incredible MAC title game showdown after an 11-1 season. He’s gone 4-8, 2-9, and 3-9 during his first three years, and currently sits at 2-5. Woof.
Would he come to Purdue?
Yes, because that Big Ten money is so so sweet for an unproven MAC head coach. Maybe I’m being too hard on Haynes, because it looks like (if Kent State doesn’t turn around), he’ll get another shot at a great assistant Power 5 coaching job. Hell, if he came to Purdue to coach defensive backs it would be lovely. But head coach? Nah, we’ll pass.