Hazell Feels Right at Home at OSU

New wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell has only been at Ohio State for a short time, but things have already fallen into place for him. Hazell talked with Kyle Lamb yesterday about how he feels about being at OSU as well as what to look for at WR this year.

Sometimes life presents you an opportunity. It might seem good and it might seem bad. And sometimes, regardless of how it seems, you know it's just completely right.

Every once in a while those decisions come full circle as history finds a way of repeating itself. For Ohio State wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell, it's a case of déjà vu all over again.

Hazell, for the second time in his life, was presented with an opportunity to further his career by making a move from his home state of New Jersey to Ohio.

Back in 1982, after graduating high school in Cinnaminson, N.J., Hazell moved on to Muskingum College where he was a standout wide receiver by winning all-conference all three seasons he started.

This time around, the move to Ohio came after a three-year stint with Rutgers. When Jim Tressel called with his newly created receiver coaching position, Hazell didn't need time to consider it.

"This is an absolutely great program to be associated with," Hazell said. "I just had a feeling about this place."

Few people are able to leave home so easily, and in Hazell's case, do it twice in life. But in this particular case, Hazell decided to move with his wife Annemarie and his 3-year old son, Kyle, because he felt this was a place where he had incredible opportunities.

The move came after Hazell was recommended to Tressel by longtime friend and strength and conditioning coach Allan Johnson, with whom he coached at West Virginia. The recommendation was also backed by Jim Heacock, to whom Hazell was close acquaintances with.

It was those relationships and the aforementioned opportunities that drew Hazell to Ohio State.

"Here at Ohio State, it's phenomenal to think of the people that have come through this program," he said. "Now I can associate myself with those people, and that's a great opportunity."

Hazell had a real good idea of what was in store for him when he got here, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been blown away by Tressel's family atmosphere and unbelievable people skills.

"That's exactly the reason this man has been so successful," Hazell said of Tressel's personality. "Not only does he know what he's doing by coaching, but he surrounds himself with good people and is a wonderful person."

"I had a feeling I knew what I was getting into when I came here," he said. "But it's still a wonderful atmosphere to be in."

Hazell has coached at Oberlin, The University of Pennsylvania, Western Michigan, The United States Military Academy, West Virginia, and most recently Rutgers.

Never before, however, has he had so much talent at his disposal.

"We've got a lot of young guys here this season, but there's definitely a lot of potential amongst the entire group," he said. "Santonio (Holmes) especially; if he continues to work hard and remain consistent, he will have a terrific year."

Besides Holmes, Devon Lyons, Albert Dukes, Roy Hall, John Hollins, and Brandon Childress, Hazell could also find a gem in freshman sensation Ted Ginn Jr.

"Teddy is a special, special player," Hazell said. "He's very gifted. He's extremely humble and very willing to be coached. He has a bright future ahead of him."

Although Tressel has done his best to temper enthusiasm and even keep people from expecting too large a role this season with Ginn, that doesn't mean Hazell wouldn't like to coach more of Ginn on offense.

In fact, it also doesn't stop him from lobbying for it.

"Yes, to answer your question quite bluntly, I'd love to have him over here (at receiver)," Hazell responded with a big grin. "Who wouldn't want to coach him?"

Aside from his normal duties working with the wide receivers, Hazell will also be in charge of recruiting his home state, New Jersey. Hazell has also been assigned to recruit primarily in Florida, taking over for the recently retired Bill Conley.

Hazell, at least for now, has found (once again) a second home.

"I am looking forward to continuing the tradition of winning and doing it with great people," he said. "It's something you don't ever forget."

There wasn't anything hard for Darrell Hazell this time around. To him, Ohio State was just completely right.

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