West Virginia offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen is a strong candidate for the head football coaching job at Kent State, according to two sources.
Mullen has yet to have a formal interview, but one is expected to be scheduled in the near future, as soon as in the next day or two, the sources said.
The sources also confirmed that Ohio State assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell is a candidate for the Kent State job, which became vacant when Doug Martin resigned in November after going 29-53 in seven seasons.
Kent State director of athletic communications Alan Ashby said today that the school would not comment on specific candidates but confirmed the search is ongoing.
Under Mullen's command this season, the Mountaineers' offense eclipsed the 400-yard mark seven times, gained 523 yards in a season-ending win against Rutgers on Saturday and finished the season on a four-game win streak. West Virginia (9-3) is headed to the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 28 in Orlando, Fla., against North Carolina State (8-4).
Several factors make Mullen a logical candidate at Kent State, which has gone 5-7 the last two seasons and hasn't won at least six games since 2006.
Mullen, 42, and Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen have worked together in the past. Before heading to Morgantown to command the Mountaineers' offense, Mullen worked from 2001-2007 at Wake Forest, serving as offensive tackles coach and quarterbacks coach. Nielsen was the associate athletic director at Wake Forest from 1993-2001 In addition, Kent State executive associate athletic director Tom Kleinlein formerly worked at Wake Forest and has an established relationship with Mullen.
Mullen has familiarity with both the state of Ohio and the Mid-American Conference, which Kent State competes in.
Mullen, a Lima, Ohio native served as an assistant at Ohio University from 1992-2000.
In addition, as part of his recruiting duties, Mullen currently recruits the state of Ohio for West Virginia's staff.