Hazell: The importance of people is the one thing I'll take with me

As we told you last night, Darrell Hazell has accepted the head coaching position at Purdue. Today he held his exit press conference at Kent State and talked about the timeline with Purdue, and what he's learned from his experience at Kent State.

Hazell says that he met at 6:15am ET this morning with his coaching staff, which was followed by a 6:30am ET meeting with his team where he officially delivered the news. Knowing that he would get emotional, he kept things short and sweet, told him that he loved them, and then walked out of the room.

As far as the timeline goes, he explained that Purdue reached out to him late last week, but Hazell responded by telling them that he didn't want to have any discussions before the MAC title game. That initial conversation was followed up with conversations on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

According to Hazell, the job was offered at about 4:30pm ET yesterday, and he made his decision about around 9pm ET.

Later today, Hazell plans to fly out for a press conference and for his introductory press conference at Purdue. He added that Purdue has given him permission to coach Kent State in the bowl game, but that decision lays in the hands of Kent State administrators at this point, and should be decided on by the end of the day.

As Hazell leaves Kent State, he gave credit numerous times throughout the presser to the people who helped him and his staff reach the success that they have. He explains that is one lesson that he will leave Kent State with.

"That's the most important thing when you're putting together a football team. It's making sure that you surround yourself with the right people that are going to take care of the kids and make that the kids are getting everything that they need in the classroom, on the field, and socially."

"To me, it's all about the people. That's where success is built. It's not about anything but the people and I think that the bonds that we made coming in here, when people said 'You can't win here', and we put our hearts to it. I think you get a lot of people working in the same direction, a lot of good things happen."

"I think that's the biggest thing that I'll take from here."

That's solid advice for coaches everywhere.

Mario Cristobal has been let go at Florida International

In a shocking development this morning, we learned that FIU has decided to part ways with head coach Mario Cristobal.

Cristobal took over Florida International in December of 2006, after successful assistant coaching stints at Miami and Rutgers working with the offensive line and tight ends. Cristobal was just the second head coach in FIU's history and took over a team that had just finished the 2006 season at 0-12. They hired Cristobal, in part, because of his deep ties to the state of Florida as a player and coach, and his proven success on the recruiting trail.

In his first season, the Golden Panthers lost their first 11 games, and had lost 23 straight dating back before his hiring, which was the longest streak in the country at that time. The last game of the season, FIU beat North Texas to end the streak, and they continued to make strides in the right direction each season that followed.

Prior to their 7-6 season in 2010, the program had never finished a season with a winning record. That season they also locked up a share of the Sun Belt title. They continued to step in the right direction last season with an overall record of 8-5, which included a bowl trip for the second straight season (which ended in a  loss in the Beef O'Brady Bowl).

Following the 8-5 finish last year, Mario Cristobal was a hot name when the coaching carousel started to heat up in the offseason, with his name being mentioned at both Rutgers and Penn State, among others.

This season, FIU suffered a rash of injuries, and lost some key players to graduation, and struggled to a 3-9 finish. In his head coaching career, Cristobal exits FIU after six seasons and an overall record of 27-47 and 20-26 in conference play.

Take it from us, it won't take long for some program, or head coach, to pick up Cristobal. He's known in the profession as a quality, results driven coach, and kills it on the recruiting trail (especially in talent rich Florida).

Video: Butch Jones dancing in locker room

After locking up their fourth Big East title in five years, Butch Jones put all the job speculation on the back burner and just enjoyed being around his team in their post game celebration after beating UConn. 

The video starts off with some good pre game footage from Coach Jones, and then about three quarters of the way through the clip, there's a brief moment of Jones dancing (skip to about the 3 minute mark to catch it). It's not as infamous as "The Gundy", but finding (or coming up with) a name for that move should be interesting.

Any ideas?

"Our focus for the bowl has changed because of the coaching situation"

As assistant coaches, and even as players, preparing for a bowl game without the head coach that helped lead you there has got to be an odd feeling (even thought that's the nature of our profession). Add on top of that the national speculation of who your next coach is going to be and you've got an even more unique environment.

Yesterday, before the rumors of Darrell Hazell coaching the Boilermakers really picked up steam, Purdue held their first bowl practice of the season.

One of the perks of getting the extra practices during bowl season is getting your younger guys those important extra reps to prepare for next season. However, interim head coach Patrick Higgins admitted yesterday that while the younger guys will still get their fair share of work in, their focus as a staff is elsewhere.

“It changes because of the coaching situation. If we’re going to be brutally honest, the main focus, from the coaches on this staff, is to put our best foot forward for the bowl season." Higgins explained.

“To be greedy, it doesn’t help the staff to try and promote themselves to get more work. They’ll get some work, yes. Will they get the work they would normally get? No.”

Higgins and Purdue will take on Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas game on January 1 at noon ET.


Wednesday TV - Tomorrow night resumes NFL action

Denver and Oakland will usher in the resume of football tomorrow night. Bowl games will get kicked off on the 15th.

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