Pitt hires Haywood as new football coach
College Football Videos
Pitt turned to the "cradle of coaches" to find its next head football coach, hiring Mike Haywood, who led Miami (Ohio) to the Mid-American Conference championship this season.
Haywood informed Miami players at a 10 p.m. team meeting that he accepted the Pitt job and won't coach the RedHawks against Middle Tennessee State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.
"He was very emotional," Miami senior tight end Jordan Stevens told the Tribune-Review. "I think the decision he made was very tough on him, just like it is for the rest of us, but we can't blame him. He said we built a strong foundation and that he was sorry he had to do this but it was the toughest decision he's ever had to make."
Haywood, 46, will become the 35th head football coach in school history - and first black coach to hold that title. He will replace Dave Wannstedt, who resigned under pressure Dec. 7 after compiling a 41-32 record in six seasons, including 7-5 this year.
ESPN.com reported that Haywood agreed to a five-year contract. Salary details were not available.
Neither Pitt nor Miami officials would confirm the hiring last night.
Haywood led the RedHawks to the biggest turnaround in major-college football in his second year, recovering from a 1-11 record to go 9-4 and win the Mid-American Conference championship this season.
Haywood is the latest in a long line of successful coaches at Miami, which has produced legends such as Earl "Red" Blaik, Paul Brown, Sid Gillman, Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, Weeb Ewbank and Bo Schembechler. More recently, Randy Walker, Terry Hoeppner and Jim Tressel have come through Oxford, Ohio.
The hiring ends a rollercoaster coaching search that resembled the Panthers' season. Pitt watched its primary target take his talents to South Beach and one of the country's hottest candidates choose the other side of the Backyard Brawl.
Pitt's search initially focused first on Temple's Al Golden, who accepted the opening at Miami (Fla.) earlier this week, then on Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who instead chose to become coach-in-waiting at West Virginia.
Pitt then turned to Haywood.
Miami was 10-27 in the three seasons prior to his arrival, including 2-10 finishes in 2006 and '08. After winning one game his first season, Haywood orchestrated the biggest turnaround in major college football this year by going 9-4 (8-1 in MAC) and winning the school's first conference championship since Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the RedHawks to a MAC title in 2003.
"I was amazed," said Texas coach Mack Brown, one of several nationally prominent coaches under whom Haywood has coached. "It didn't look like the same team. He did as good a job as anyone in America."
It's not the first time. Haywood was named assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association in 2005, his first of four seasons as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Notre Dame. He also served as running backs coach under Brown at Texas (2003-04), Gerry DiNardo and Nick Saban at Louisiana State (1995-2002). Haywood also coached at Ball State ('93-94), Ohio ('91-92) and Army (1989-90).
A 1986 Notre Dame graduate, Haywood has a reputation for focusing on academics, as a disciplinarian who makes players wear shirts and ties to every game and for an upbeat, positive approach that serves him well in dealing with his players and recruits.
"He instilled in us how to be good men, not just good football players," said Stevens, one of three Gateway graduates who play at Miami, along with freshmen Dayonne Nunley and Orne Bey. "He built all of us up to be great people, not just on the field but when we were in the classroom and when we were walking on campus. He improved all aspects of our life, and that's what a football coach really needs to do."
Haywood has shown a willingness to play underclassmen, as Miami's 65-man travel roster included 47 freshmen and sophomores. Despite an injury to his starting quarterback that forced Miami to play a redshirt freshman, Haywood guided the RedHawks to victories over Temple in the season finale and No. 25 Northern Illinois in the MAC title game.
"Mike would fit in any place," Brown said. "He's going to take whatever is there and make it better."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Malkin, Hornqvist return to Penguins lineup vs. Coyotes
- Key Pennsylvania judicial races dot landscape
- Rogue Catholics in Society of St. Pius X to reopen West End church
- Players respect coach, refuse to blame Johnston
- Clymer woman dies in 2-vehicle crash in Homer City
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- Man in New Kensington standoff charged
- Eagle egg breaks, parents abandon nest
- Women Read/Women Write Book Fest returns bigger than ever
- Norwin High School health teacher charged with selling heroin
- Cat or dog not great fit for pet? A bunny might be your buddy