According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Panthers have found their new head coach. Mike Haywood from Miami (Ohio) has signed a five-year deal with Pitt, who looked to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Dave Wannstedt. A press conference to introduce Haywood as the next head coach could take place as early as Thursday. Haywood will be the first African-American head coach in program history.
Haywood’s head coaching experience is limited. He took over the Miami RedHawks program in 2009 and went 1-11 but quickly turned the team in to a winner this season by going 9-4 and ending the regular season with an upset victory over Northern Illinois in a thrilling MAC Championship game. Haywood’s coaching background before being named a head coach though is extensive. He has taken on various assistant coaching roles at Minnesota, Army, LSU, Texas, Notre Dame and more.
Time will tell of Haywood will be a good hire for the Pitt program but the move appears to be far from buzz worthy. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisburger, a Miami alum, told a reporter from the Associated Press “I don’t really know him.” Instead Roethlisburger lauded the efforts of Miami’s athletic director, Brad Bates. “I know what helped Miami, Ohio win this year, in my opinion, more than anything, is Brad Bates, the athletic director. What an awesome guy.” Roethlisburger said that Haywood never reached out to him in the past two seasons.
Fans in Pittsburgh may have been expecting the school to go after a big name head coach for the job but Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes in his column that no one has a book the book on Chizik. With a limited head coaching background at a MAC school it is tough to tell what he is truly capable of. Judging by comments on some of the news stories linked in this story, and a first glimpse at some message boards there is a bit of an angry reaction to the hiring.
With Haywood moving on to Pitt the search for a new head coach at Miami will begin immediately. As of this posting there was no word on whether or not Haywood will coach Miami in their upcoming bowl game, the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Middle Tennessee.