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Keeping two employers content at the same time has offered a unique and admittedly difficult challenge for Darrell Hazell.
Since accepting an offer to take over the Purdue football program on Dec. 5, then gaining permission to coach Kent State in its upcoming bowl game, Hazell has been juggling a slew of vital responsibilities at both schools to the very best of his abilities.
"Obviously it's a lot," said Hazell. "There's a lot of things that you have to do for both sides to not cheat either side. And I'm not gonna cheat either side."
Next week's schedule features a stop in Dallas on New Year's Day, where his Boilermakers will battle Oklahoma State in the Heart of Texas Bowl, then a flight back to Ohio so he can depart along with his Golden Flashes on Jan. 2 for the GoDaddy.com Bowl that will be played on Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.
"We'll practice (today) and Saturday, then have a real quick one on Sunday (in Kent)," said Hazell. "Then I'm flying to Dallas to just watch (Purdue's) bowl game. Then I'm flying back on the 1st after their bowl game for our bowl game. So it'll be pretty busy."
Busy days are obviously nothing new to Hazell.
"Your mind's constantly racing," said Hazell. "You're thinking what needs to be done, did I forget anything? But you've got good people around you that keep you going, telling you what needs to be done. That's what it's all about, relying on your help and making sure that what we need to have done for both Kent State and Purdue gets done."
Hazell has been working off a separate list of priorities for both schools.
"I try to stay ahead from the Kent State side in terms of practice structure and bowl responsibilities that we have, making sure our coaches get what they need early enough and making sure the players are well informed on what they need to do," said Hazell.
"From the Purdue side, the three things I'm concentrating on are first getting a staff together. I've been interviewing people, and I've had to travel some to do that."
He refused to elaborate on staff decisions that have been or will be made.
"I'm gonna have a staff release the week after the bowl game," he said.
"I've also spent a lot of time talking to the recruits that have committed (to Purdue), and I still have to evaluate the guys that we need to go after. Then I'm also trying to do some things to upgrade the offices out there just a little bit. There's not a whole lot that needs to be done, but you want to try to put your own little touch on it. So those are the things that I'm trying to balance."
While his focus continues to teeter between Kent State and Purdue, Hazell plans to make sure his Golden Flashes are focused entirely on their first bowl game in 40 years -- which is now just 10 days away.
"We'll make the message loud tonight, where it's been kind of a soft leaning into it before because we were so far away.," said Hazell. "We'll make the message loud about how important this game is to this program.
"But those kids have been the same all season long, They've been so locked in and so mature and so focused that I don't have any doubt that they'll be ready to play."
TORNADOES HIT MOBILE AGAIN
Hazell will coach his first and last games for Kent State in the state of Alabama. Ironically, tornadoes struck the area before both games.
A tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa before the Flashes opened last season against the Crimson Tide on Sept. 3, causing major damage. Kent State actually sent some players to Alabama early so they could help with the rebuilding efforts.
On Christmas Day, a tornado touched down in Mobile, where the Flashes will play Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6.
"I don't know what the severity of the tornado was, but if we can lend a hand we certainly will," said Hazell. "When we get down there we'll put together a little crew if there's something that needs to be done, and we'll go to work."