Multiple reports indicate that Kent State has made a quick decision as to who will be their new defensive coordinator. Hiring from within the program, Paul Haynes will promote Ben Needham from his regular linebackers coaching position to [also] being the defensive coordinator, replacing Brian George. George was hired by Toledo in the same capacity over the weekend.
Needham is also the team's recruiting coordinator; no reports show that the team would be looking for somebody else to take that title from him. One vacancy that is clearly available for the team is for the defensive line unit, which was previously held by George.
MAC football coaching carousel
With news of Matt Campbell breaking the seal to reportedly leave for Iowa State, a can of worms has been opened. Who's leaving and who's coming in? Naturally, we'll be stalking their every moves.
Kent State was fourth in the MAC this year against the run (143.9 yards per game), as Matt Delinger led the linebacking corps with 89 total tackles (6.5 TFL). Returning safety Elcee Refuge had 70 total tackles with 9.5 for loss. While 2014 was disappointing, the team improved to third in overall defense in the MAC, allowing 350.1 yards per game and 4.7 yards per play.
The Ohio State alumnus will be entering his fourth season with the Golden Flashes. Needham played offensive line at DePauw University (Greencastle, Indiana) for a couple of years before earning his degree at OSU in 2007. He was a student assistant with the Buckeyes from 2005-06 before getting his first coaching jobs with Wabash in 2007 and Drake from 2008-09 for their defensive linemen (those two jobs were all under Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan's head coach).
From there, Needham went back to OSU as a graduate assistant for two years, then with Arkansas in 2012. Paul Haynes was on those staffs as well, coaching defensive backs and being a defensive coordinator for the Razorbacks for a year.
The Golden Flashes have not had a winning season since 2012 when they went undefeated in MAC play before falling to Northern Illinois in the championship game. Under Hayes, the Flashes are 9-26, coming off of a 3-9 season in 2015. Non-conference opponents that Kent State will play against in 2016 include Penn State, Monmouth, Alabama and Army.