Paul Haynes Leaving Ohio State for DC Position at Arkansas
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Paul Haynes will be a coach next season but it will not be at Ohio State.
After seven seasons as a defensive assistant with the Buckeyes—including one as the co-defensive coordinator—Haynes was officially hired as the new defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Arkansas on Friday.
A former walk-on at Kent State, Haynes coached the defensive backs at Louisville and Michigan State before coming to Columbus as the safeties coach under Jim Tressel back in 2005. He also spent one season as a quality control coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That is where he first met up with Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who was serving as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin.
“Through his experiences, Paul Haynes is extremely familiar with the way we operate,” Petrino said in a statement Friday.
“He has a professional approach and is an exceptional coach and recruiter. This is a competitive conference and we are determined to go head-to-head with the very best. Having Paul join our program will help us as we continue on the path toward our goal of consistently winning championships.”
Haynes replaces Willy Robinson, who resigned from the position earlier this week. Despite being promoted to co-defensive coordinator for the 2011 season, Haynes was not expected to remain on the coaching staff under new head coach Urban Meyer, who took over the program last week.
While he was coaching the safeties in Columbus, the Buckeyes compiled a 66-11 record, won six Big Ten titles and played in six straight BCS games while consistently putting one of the best defenses in the Big Ten on the field. The OSU defensive backs earned five first-team All-America citations and 10 first-team All-Big Ten selections under Haynes’ direction.
Eight defensive backs were selected in the 2006-11 NFL Drafts, including first rounders Donte Whitner and Malcolm Jenkins. Whitner, a safety, was taken with the eighth overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2006, and Jenkins, a cornerback, was picked 14th overall by the New Orleans Saints in 2009.
“He has been a part of a team with a culture of doing just that,” Petrino said.
“Paul has incredibly high standards and the defenses he has built have been challenging to prepare for and have always played with toughness, intensity and desire.”
Haynes replaced Luke Fickell as co-defensive coordinator under Jim Heacock after Fickell was tabbed to replace Tressel as the interim head coach in Columbus. He is the seventh-leading tacklers in Kent State history, but has been one of Ohio State’s better recruiters in the south.
His wife Denita even graduated from Florida A&M with an education degree.
Haynes also worked with former Razorback coaches John L. Smith (Louisville and Michigan State) and Garrick McGee (Northern Iowa). He faced the Razorbacks in the 2011 Sugar Bowl and helped Ohio State to their first victory over the SEC despite the fact two of his starting defensive backs were injured during the game.
Cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson is expected to remain on the coaching staff in Columbus under Meyer, as is Fickell. Haynes actually got his start as a collegiate coach at Bowling Green back in 1994, seven years before Meyer became the head coach.
Haynes is expected to join Petrino Fayetteville right away and likely will not coach the Buckeyes in their Jan. 2 matchup with the University of Florida in the Gator Bowl. Ohio State would not comment on how the Buckeyes would handle coaching duties or who would replace Haynes before the bowl game.
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