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The Kent State Golden Flashes football team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of Kent State Universitymarker in Kent, Ohiomarker, USAmarker. The team is a member of the Mid-American Conference East division, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). The Golden Flashes played their first game in 1920 and today play their home games at Dix Stadiummarker, which opened in 1969. Their current head coach is Doug Martin.


The team was founded in 1920 and played their first game against Ashland College, a 6-0 loss under coach Paul Chandler. Kent State would record their first win that year, but it would be in the form of a forfeit. The team would not record their first true victory until November 14, 1925, a 7-6 win over West Liberty State College. Outside the forfeited win in 1920, Kent State would fail to score in their first 14 games, posting a record of 0-13-1 before finally putting points on the board in a 7-6 loss to West Liberty in 1923. During that streak, Kent State would suffer the worst loss in school history, a 118-0 loss to Baldwin-Wallace College, also in 1923. Following the 7-6 loss to West Liberty, a new shutout streak began which lasted 8 games, in which the Flashes, then known as the "Silver Foxes" went 0-6-2. The streak began with the second most lopsided loss in school history, an 82-0 loss to Slippery Rockmarker. The streak finally ended with a 6-6 tie with the Indiana Normal Schoolmarker in 1925, the game which preceded Kent State's first true victory. Kent State posted their first winning season in 1928, going 4-2-2.

Ohio Athletic Conference

Kent State would join the Ohio Athletic Conference beginning in the 1931 season, playing in the OAC through the 1950 season except for the 1943-1945 seaons, which were cancelled due to American involvement in World War II. Under coach G. Donald Starn, who coached Kent State from 1935-1942, the Flashes would begin to taste success, posting winning seasons in 1938 (6-2), 1940 (8-1), and 1942 (5-3). During their time in the OAC, the Flashes never won a conference title, but did finish second in 1940 with a 4-0 conference record. The team finished third in both 1948 and 1949 going 3-0 and 2-0 respectively in conference play.

Coach Trevor Rees

In 1946, the program was revived after the conclusion of World War II under coach Trevor Rees, who would coach the Flashes to their first era of consistent success. During his tenure, which lasted 18 seasons, the Flashes would post winning seasons in all but 5 of them. In 1950, the team opened their first true stadium, Memorial Stadium, by defeating Marietta College 57-0. The next season saw the Golden Flashes join the Mid-American Conference. Rees would guide the team to its first bowl appearance in the 1954 Refrigerator Bowl. Rees coached Kent State from 1946-1963, posting a record of 92-63-5 (.591).

MAC Championship

In 1971, Don James took over as head coach. Under James, and with notable players such as Pro Football Hall of Famemarker inductee and former Pittsburgh Steelers middle linebacker Jack Lambert, current Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban, and current Missouri Tigers football coach Gary Pinkel, Kent State was finally able to celebrate its first-- and so far only-- Mid-American Conference title in 1972 followed by a trip to the 1973 Tangerine Bowl. James would coach at Kent State four seasons (1971-1974), posting an overall record of 25-19-1 (.567) which included a 9-2 record in 1973. James left after the 1974 season to accept the head coaching job at the University of Washington, where he would ultimately win the 1992 national championship.


Following the departure of Don James, the team's fortunes began to decline. Although James' successor Dennis Fitzgerald, who coached for three seasons (1975-1977), was able to lead the team to a 8-4 record and second-place MAC finish in 1976 and a winning 1977 season, by 1979 the team was once again at the bottom of the MAC, going 1-10. From 1975-1993 Kent State went had 7 different coaches with no coach lasting beyond three seasons. Also during that time period, the Flashes had three winless seasons and two 1-win seasons. Glen Mason was hired in 1986 and in his two seasons in Kent posted two consecutive 2nd place MAC finishes including a 7-4 overall mark in 1987, the Flashes' first winning season since 1977. Former Flashes standout Jim Corrigall began in 1994 and became the first coach since Don James to coach more than three seasons, though he lasted only four. Dean Pees was hired in 1998 and suffered through the Flashes' most recent winless season (0-11 in 1998) before leading the team to a slow recovery. In 2001 Kent State posted their first winning season since 1987 when they were led by current Cleveland Browns returnman Joshua Cribbs (who played quarterback at Kent State) to a 6-5 overall record, 5-3 in the MAC. Pees would leave Kent State after the 2003 season to take a job with the New England Patriots; Pees is now the Patriots' defensive coordinator. Current coach Doug Martin began in 2004. His best season as of 2008 was the 2006 season, which saw Kent State go 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the MAC, finishing second in the East division.

Notable players

Despite the overall lack of success in the program, Kent State has produced a number of standouts including several prominent figures in college football, the Canadian Football League and in the National Football League.

College football

Canadian Football League

National Football League

40 former Kent State players have either played in or are currently playing in the National Football League.

Former players

Current players

There are eleven former Kent State players on active NFL rosters, though only nine of them played football while at the school. In 2007, three former Flashes were named to the Pro Bowl. Current NFL players from Kent State include:

*= Antonio Gates played for the KSU men's basketball team while Jermail Porter was an All-American on the KSU wrestling team.

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