Since graduating from Cinnaminson in 1982, Darrell Hazell has always had the goal of one day becoming a head college football coach.
Through many stops over the past quarter of a century, Hazell has fulfilled his goal after being named the new head football coach at Kent State earlier this week.
Hazell became the first minority coach in the 90-year history of the program. He replaced Doug Martin, who resigned last month.
The 46-year-old Hazell spent the last seven seasons as an assistant at Ohio State. Most recently he was the Buckeyes' assistant head coach and also coached the wide receivers.
He was also an assistant coach at Rutgers, West Virginia, Army, Penn, Oberlin College (serving two different stints) and Eastern Illinois.
During his long career, Hazell has coached running backs, receivers, tight ends and also served as offensive coordinator at Oberlin College from 1989-91.
Despite moving up the ladder, he has never forgotten his roots.
"I had a great time attending Cinnaminson," Hazell said in a phone conversation on Tuesday. "What was great was how close everybody was."
Hazell, who also ran track at Cinnaminson, attended Division III Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where he was a three-time, all-conference performer and earned all-America honors as a senior.
Right after college he began his long journey as an assistant coach.
"I learned something at every place I coached," he said.
Hazell will be doing double-duty for the next few weeks. Ohio State is playing Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4 in New Orleans. Even though he has his new job, Hazell said he didn't want to leave Ohio State until the season was complete.
"I love my players at Ohio State," he said. "I want to see it right though."
Hazell is a first cousin of Cinnaminson's most famous football family, the Collinses. Andre Collins was the most well known of the family, a former star at Penn State and in the NFL. Hazell vows that he will be returning to his roots to recruit.
"I want to work the 1-95 corridor in recruiting," he said. "I know what great players there are in the South Jersey, Philadelphia area and I will be there for sure."
Hazell is fulfilling a dream by being named a head coach. His base salary will be $300,000 with additional contractual details yet to be worked out, according to the school.
"I'm proud and excited to be named Kent State's head football coach," Hazell said. "I believe this is a tremendous opportunity and I can't wait to give the Golden Flashes' fans the winning program they deserve."