KENT, Ohio (WKBN) — Kent State University has hired Kenni Burns as the 23rd head football coach in school history.

Director of Athletics Randale L. Richmond made the official announcement on Wednesday.

“We are truly excited to welcome Kenni, his wife Ciara and their two children into our Golden Flashes’ family,” Richmond said. “Kenni has been a key contributor to championship teams at every stop and was the most prepared candidate in the country to be a first-time head coach. I have no doubt that Kenni and his staff will build upon the solid foundation of Kent State Football as we continue to graduate student-athletes, boldly prepared for life after sport and win championships.”

Burns replaces previous head coach Sean Lewis, who recently stepped down from the post to join Deion Sanders’ coaching staff at Colorado.

“I am excited and humbled to lead the Kent State football program,” Burns said. “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. “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.”

He comes to Kent from the University of Minnesota, where he has served as assistant head coach since 2019 and running backs coach under P.J. Fleck for the past six seasons. He’s in his 15th year as a college coach.

Previous assistant coaching experience includes stints at Western Michigan, Wyoming, North Dakota State, Southern Illinois, and Millersville in Pennsylvania.

While at NDSU, he won three FCS national championships with the Bison, serving as wide receivers coach from 2010-13.

A 2006 graduate of Indiana University, Burns played three seasons at running back for the Hoosiers.