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Gophers hire Paul Haynes from Michigan State as cornerbacks coach



Gophers coach P.J. Fleck hired former Kent State head coach Paul Haynes as Minnesota’s new cornerbacks coach, the team announced Monday.

Haynes, who has 25 years of coaching experience, replaces Rod Chance, who left the Gophers earlier this month to become Oregon’s cornerbacks coach. Fleck and Haynes first worked together in 2006 when Haynes was on staff and Fleck was a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes. Haynes left Ohio State five years later and stopped at Arkansas before spending five seasons at Kent State’s coach.

He's spent the past two years as the defensive backs coach at Michigan State. He inherits a deep cornerbacks room, including All-Big Ten honorable mentions Benjamin St-Juste and Coney Durr.

Also, a source confirmed two Gophers players have medically retired. Wide receivers Erik Gibson and Jornell Brooks II just finished their redshirt freshman seasons. Neither played a game for the Gophers. They were three-star recruits from the 2018 class.

Cornerbacks coach Chance leaving Gophers for Oregon

Cornerbacks coach Rod Chance is leaving the Gophers for the same job at Oregon, a source confirmed Sunday.

Chance joined the Gophers staff in January 2019 and helped the team to an 11-2 season. He helped develop a position group with no clear starters entering the season into a strong rotation, including All-Big Ten honorable mentions Coney Durr and Benjamin St-Juste, who return next season. Chance was also a strong recruiter in areas such as Georgia, where he was once a high school coach.

Prior to coming to the Gophers, Chance was a defensive analyst at Oregon. He penned a goodbye note on Twitter, wishing his former team and players the best in future endeavors.

"To be a part of this culture and to experience such a special season will always be with me," Chance wrote. "...To win 11 games and achieving so many 'nevers' together will forever be a special memory for us."

The Gophers will look for Chance's replacement after recently announced some staff changes, including defensive backs and safeties coach Joe Harasymiak to co-defensive coordinator as well. Harasymiak and Chance were both additions last season, when coach P.J. Fleck decided to split up the secondary. The Gophers have had a different coach at that position each year under Fleck so far.