WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - In front of a number of media representatives and Purdue Athletics administrators in the media room at Mackey Arena, Darrell Hazell was officially introduced as the 35th head football coach in the history of Purdue University Wednesday night.
Flanked by Purdue Athletics Director Morgan Burke and Interim Purdue President Dr. Tim Sands, Hazell exuded confidence and grace in his opening night comments from the podium.
"When I took the Kent State job, people looked at me like I was crazy," said Hazell. "They said, 'They haven't won there in 40 years. Why would you take that job coming from Ohio State?' I bit my lip and went to work. And that's what we're going to do here. And we're going to win championships.
Hazell, the reigning MAC Coach of the Year, impressed Burke immediately, with the Boilermaker AD citing an email from a Big Ten school where Hazell previously coached.
"The email that I got from a mother of a former player from Ohio State today (Wednesday) probably symbolized why he's the right guy, regardless of race. And that mother said, 'I normally don't send an email to an AD,'" Burke said. "'But my son was recruited at Ohio State and played for Darrell (Hazell).' She said the Purdue people don't know what a gem they've gotten."
Sands also had high words of praise for Hazell.
"We're very fortunate to have found an individual in Coach Hazell who truly gets it," Sands said. "He's a winner in every sense of the word."
Hazell, who spent the past two seasons as the head coach at Kent State, said he plans on coaching the Golden Flashes in the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Arkansas State. Hazell added he also plans on attending the Boilermakers matchup against Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day.
Burke said that Hazell's contract at Purdue is six years in length but wouldn't disclose financial terms. Multiple media outlets are reporting the deal is worth $12 million over six years.
Hazell is the first black head football coach at Purdue and the fourth black head football coach in the Big Ten. The previous three black Big Ten head football coaches are Dennis Green and Francis Peay at Northwestern and Bobby Williams, a Purdue alum, at Michigan State.
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