PJ Fleck will need to replace a longtime assistant.

On Wednesday night, Minnesota Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Kenni Burns was announced as the new head coach for the Kent State Golden Flashes.

Burns spent 6 years in Minnesota coaching running backs. Burns was given the assistant head coach title before the 2019 season and also coached under Fleck at Western Michigan for 1 season.

While with the Golden Gophers, Burns coached 2 of the best RBs in program history in Rodney Smith and Mohamed Ibrahim.

“I am excited and humbled to lead the Kent State football program. I want to thank President Todd Diacon, Director of Athletics Randale L. Richmond and the entire search committee for this opportunity and for believing in me,” Burns said via press release. “I am looking forward to getting to know the team and connecting with them on a personal level, and I am also excited to engage our alumni and fans as we begin to move this program forward. We have a lot of work and recruiting to do, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Burns will replace Sean Lewis at Kent State. Lewis recently stepped down to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado.

The Golden Flashes are coming off of a disappointing 2022 season in which the team finished with a 5-7 record. This will be the 1st taste of head coaching experience for Burns.