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Haywood Fired, Yet Another Coaching Search Begins

January 2, 2011

Well that certainly didn’t take long.  Saturday afternoon, Mike Haywood was released from jail in South Bend.  However, those weren’t the only walking papers Haywood received.  Chancellor Mark Nordenberg had this to say in a statement:

“After careful consideration of recent events, the University of Pittsburgh has dismissed Michael Haywood as its head football coach, effective immediately. He was advised of that action this afternoon.

“To be clear, the University’s decision is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending in Indiana might ultimately be concluded. Instead, it reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances.

“This is a matter of real regret for the many people at Pitt who had looked forward to working with him. However, head coaches are among the University’s most visible representatives and are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the University.

“We will immediately re-open our search for a head football coach, expanding the process to include a larger pool of candidates. Our goal is to move swiftly, but prudently, to find the right person to successfully lead the Pitt football program for what we hope will be an extended period of time.”

Haywood’s thoughts on this:

“It isn’t fair.  The truth will eventually come out.”

OK Coach, so you are saying that “character and integrity”, the entire basis of your hiring and press conference, once being damaged irreparably by your own actions of becoming involved in said situation, while embarrassing your employer, is not grounds to terminate your contract?  Gotcha.

Sorry, sidetracked…back to the statement.  The couple of key things we noticed here are who is saying it and what is being said about the upcoming coaching search.  The man at the top, Chancellor Nordenberg, released the statement.  This did not come from the Athletic Department or from Steve Pederson as we would have expected it to, even though the decision is Nordenberg’s.  Also, the new coaching searching will have broader parameters than previously.  We read this as Nordenberg taking control of a sinking ship and doing things his way because Pederson’s way of running the show has obviously not produced the desired results.

Does all of this mean that Pederson’s days at Pitt are numbered?  We sure as hell hope so.  Ron Cook doesn’t think so just yet.  Maybe he’s wrong, but if he is not, we pray that the coaching search and hiring process of our next football coach is done by someone not named Steve Pederson.

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