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The Fighting Haywoods

December 16, 2010

At 4pm today, nine days following the resignation firing pushing aside of Dave Wannstedt, and thus ending The Fighting Wannstaches, a new era of Pitt football begins…The Mike Haywood Era.

Perhaps our new slogan should simply be "Fear"

Haywood, a Golden Domer during the unfortunate Gerry Faust years and a year of Lou Holtz (84-86 WR/DB), has served as an assistant at several major college programs.  He was the RB/Special Teams coach at LSU from 1995-2002, winning a National Championship with Nick Saban.  He held the same position at Texas under Mack Brown from 2003-2004 before becoming the Offensive Coordinator at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis in 2005.  Haywood then left South Bend for Miami(OH) in 2009 for their Head Coaching gig.

Haywood finished 1-11 his first season at Miami, but 9-4 his second, winning the MAC championship unexpectedly over #25 Northern Illinois.  People will say Pitt hired a 10-15 MAC coach.  Read it how you will.

Haywood was the Offensive Coordinator under Charlie Weis for four years at Notre Dame.  They went to two BCS bowls his first two seasons.  But we all know how the Weis’s tenure ended there…it wasn’t pretty.  People will say that Pitt hired the OC responsible for that.  Josh Miller of 93.7 The Fan, who played for Weis in New England, said you are kidding yourself if you believe that Weis let anyone touch his playbook.  Sure, Haywood called some plays, but that wasn’t his offense.  Read it how you will.

People say this was a “bad hire”.  How do you know?  How do any of us know?  The truth is we don’t know.  We aren’t the athletic director or the executives that interviewed the candidates.  Maybe Dana Holgorsen had a run-in with Chris Hansen that we don’t know about.  We definitely know that Al Golden never beat a MAC team with a winning record in is tenure at Temple (hmmm, 8-9 win seasons without beating any good/ranked team).  Pederson knows first hand what happens with a “bad hire”.  You get fired as the AD.  Happened to him at Nebraska when the Bill Callahan experiment failed.  By the time we know if this worked or not, Mark Nordenberg will most likely have retired from his position as chancellor and won’t be here to protect Pederson and Pederson knows this.  The only thing we do know is that this was a poorly handled process from a public relations standpoint, from Wannstedt’s firing to Haywood’s hiring and everything in between, and that has done nothing but aggravate the fan base.

In the end, Haywood wasn’t the “splash” hire that Pederson led us to believe he was going to make.  Maybe this was his guy, he was one of the first to interview last week, maybe Pederson went cheap, or maybe coaches don’t want to work for Pederson.  Regardless, hiring a guy just to make a “splash” will fill the stadium next season, but the right hire…a hire that wins, will fill the stadium long after.  Is Haywood that?  No clue.  Time will tell.

So if you are upset with the hire, direct your anger at Steve Pederson, not Mike Haywood.  If you say you are not renewing your season tickets next year, well that’s just stupid, you have no idea what product is going to be on the field.  If you don’t want to donate to the athletic department, then please don’t.  That is the best way to get across your frustration across to the administration.

Just a couple points to end with.  If you have ESPN3.com, go re-watch the MAC Championship game.  Haywood went for it on 4th and Goal from the 1 on the first drive.  Later he faked a FG on 4th and Goal from around the 7 and didn’t get it when up by only 6.  He played to win.  Even at one point late in the first half, Miami broke the huddle with under 10 seconds on the play clock and managed to get the play off…no unnecessary motion!

EDSBS has a good write-up for us all: KNOW YOUR SLIGHTLY SCARY AND RISKY NEW HIRE: MIKE HAYWOOD, PITT

And then there is this…

Yeah…us too.  Congrats Coach Haywood on the new job.  We support you.

Hail to Pitt!

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