Coach Kienus Boulware of Winston-Salem State has decided not to retain Daren Hart as co-defensive coordinator.
“I was fired today,” Hart said by telephone on Friday afternoon. “Coach Boulware said he wanted to go in another direction so that was it.”
Boulware had been the defensive coordinator for four seasons until he was elevated to head coach when Connell Maynor left for Hampton. Hart spent the previous four seasons as an assistant working with the cornerbacks at WSSU while Boulware ran the overall defense.
Hart and Richard Hayes were the co-coordinators this past season, when the Rams went 9-2 in Boulware’s first season as head coach. The Rams had a senior-dominated defense that allowed 13.4 points a game, good enough to rank third in Division II.
“All of these types of decisions are tough,” Boulware said about his first major move as a head coach. “Coach Hart knows how I feel about it but we just felt like we needed to go in a different direction. It was a good run together.”
The Rams’ season ended when Virginia State won 21-17 in the CIAA championship game on Nov. 15. WSSU led that game 17-14, but Virginia State drove 74 yards on seven plays for a touchdown on the winning drive with 2:43 to play.
Hart, one of the longest-tenured assistants on the staff, refuted the speculation that he and Boulware had a heated argument after the loss at Durham County Stadium.
“No, that never happened but he did start taking over the play-calling in the second half,” Hart said.
Boulware said he didn’t think there would be any other movement with his staff unless somebody leaves for another job. He said that Hayes would be the defensive coordinator for next season.
“There’s a lot of movement now throughout the country,” Boulware said about jobs that are open. “And if somebody on our staff is wanted, it means we are doing something right.”
Boulware will hire Hart’s replacement; it will likely be another defensive coach.
Hart said that he considers himself a players’ coach. Linebackers Terry Ross and Aliquan Boldin both played for Hart at Southern Durham High School and transferred to WSSU.
Hart, 40, is a Winston-Salem native and a graduate of Carver High School. He also helped recruit several local high-school players at WSSU.
“I know they have a lot of guys who sat out this season from Glenn, Carver and West Forsyth but they will help them next season,” Hart said. “I guess, if there is something to look at, maybe I was too loyal to the players. Everything happens for a reason but I wish them all the best.”
Before coming to WSSU, Hart was the defensive coordinator at Southern Durham for three seasons. Before that he spent two seasons at N.C. Central coaching defensive backs, and before that spent six seasons as an assistant at N.C. A&T.
Hart was an All-America selection by Pro Football News as a freshman at East Carolina in 1993. In August 2013, Hart was named to the East Carolina all-time defensive team.
Hart has a son who plays football at East Carolina and said if he doesn’t get back into coaching right away, he can see his son play more. There’s also the option of getting back into high-school coaching.
“I really like teaching the game and that’s why I do this in the first place,” Hart said. “We had a good run of five seasons (54-8) when Coach Maynor was there and this past season with Coach Boulware. I thought we did a good job of building that defense up.”
The 13.4 points per game the defense allowed this season is the fewest in the past five seasons.
WSSU’s points allowed
Year Average Record
2014 13.4 9-2
2013 15.1 10-2
2012 17.4 14-1
2011 16.0 13-1
2010 15.6 8-2