Sources: Kent State finalizing deal with Burns

4:54 PM ET Pete ThamelESPN Kent State is completing a five-year deal to make Minnesota associate head coach Kenni Burns the school’s next coach, sources informed ESPN. A deal is anticipated to be formalized in the near future, according to sources.Burns has been a linchpin member of P.J. Fleck’s personnel considering that taking the running backs task at Western Michigan in 2016.

That team went 13-1, reached the Cotton Bowl and controlled the MAC like no group in current history.Burns became Minnesota’s assistant head coach in 2019 after coming over with Fleck from Western Michigan as the running backs coach.

His 7 seasons with Fleck provide a blueprint for how to build and complete in the MAC footprint, something that Fleck did along with anybody in the MAC in the previous generation.2 Associated Burns ‘capability to set out a vision and implement it appealed most to Kent State athletic director Randale Richmond, according to sources. Richmond ran his very first

significant search at

the school given that arriving in April 2021. Kent State has long been one of the MAC’s most difficult jobs, and Richmond was tasked with finding a replacement for Sean Lewis, who left to end up being Deion Sanders ‘planner at Colorado.Lewis went 24-31 in 5 years, a tenure that was typically deemed effective as he won the school’s first championship game in history and sustained a tough schedule that featured 3 prominent buy games a

year.Burns will be dealing with a tough early job patching the roster together upon arrival, as a variety of the program’s top players got in the NCAA transfer portal. Burns’experience winning at locations such as North Dakota State, Wyoming and Southern Illinois offered Richmond faith that Burns might build and execute a vision for Kent State.Burns brings with him a strong track record of recruiting, developing and culture-building, as he has actually been part of Fleck’s noted “Row The Boat”program for 7 seasons. It’s a program constructed on connection and development that’s helped Minnesota to be consistently competitive in the Big 10 West and a solid top-25 program at an address where winning had only come sporadically.Burns, who is also the Gophers running backs coach, has helped produce a stable of strong tailbacks for the Gophers, as he recruited and developed Mo Ibrahim into the school’s all-time leading rusher who has scored the most touchdowns in program history. Tailback Rodney Smith also left school as one of the most efficient backs in Minnesota history under Burns’watch.Burns is from Illinois and played collegiately at Indiana. Burns’very first season will debut at UCF and feature games at both Fresno State and Arkansas.

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