Age: 48 (Born April 14, 1968)
Current Position: Head Coach, Kent State (Second Season)
Career Record: 16-9
Notable Accomplishments: 2012 MAC Coach of the Year
Notable Pupils: Dri Archer (Running Back/Wide Receiver, Kent State), Ted Ginn (Wide Receiver, Ohio State), Anthony Gonzalez (Wide Receiver, Ohio State), Santonio Holmes (Wide Receiver, Ohio State)
Coaching Philosophy: Balanced Offense
CSD Impressions: Of all the coaches under consideration to replace Jeff Tedford, Hazell strikes me as the biggest gamble. Why? Kent State ranks second nationally in turnover margin during its miraculous 11-2 season. Pulling in 38 takeaways means that there had to be some breaks along the way. Does that reflect Hazell and his staff putting the Golden Flashes in the right positions to make things happen, or is it nothing but stinking luck?
That's not a slight on Hazell. He clearly knows how to maximize his limited offensive personnel, and has done wonders at one of the worst programs in America. But Cal doesn't strike me as being in a position to gamble, not after firing the most successful coach in school history, not with the Pac-12 getting stronger and stronger, not with the financial obligations from the renovation of Memorial Stadium.
Best-Case Scenario: Urban Meyer, circa Utah
Meyer had just two years experience running a program (also in the MAC at Bowling Green) when he got the call from Salt Lake City, and needless to say that worked out pretty well. Much like Meyer, Hazell has worked under proven veteran coaches such as Jim Tressel and Don Nehlen.
Worst-Case Scenario: Turner Gill
Gill had a couple seasons of unprecedented success at lowly Buffalo, only to be jettisoned almost immediately when he could not do the same at Kansas. Sometimes coaches just catch lightning in a bottle at a certain place and cannot replicate it when stepping up the ladder.
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.