Big Lead Sports Bar


So...Michael Haywood

I've been buried in work and unable to carve out a few moments for an update, so to quickly recap Pittsburgh's happenings in the last 24 or so hours, the Penguins' winning streak ended, the Pirates signed Lyle Overbay(!), and Tennessee, which just beat Pitt in hoops, lost at home to Oakland (MI). Yikes.

Oh, and speaking of Pitt, it looks like they've found their successor to The Wannstache.

Paul Zeise says that Miami (OH) head coach Michael Haywood appears to be the man, and according to Zeise, Haywood "is now the first one who has been brought to campus for a second interview as well as to meet with Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and other key people involved with the hiring process".

Haywood could be introduced as early as tomorrow if Pitt likes what they hear today.

Haywood, who would be Pitt's first African-American head coach, was Charlie Weis' offensive coordinator at Notre Dame from 2005-2008. After coming in as a runner-up to Kevin Sumlin for the Houston head coaching job in 2007, Haywood took over a bad Miami team that went 1-11 in his first season of 2009. However, the alma mater of Ben Roethlisberger rebounded strongly under Haywood in 2010, going 9-4 and beating Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game.

As you can see, his coaching history includes stops at some big schools, including LSU and Texas, since starting back in 1988. This guy is clearly a ladder-climber.

The name isn't one that would be classified as "sexy", but then again, few knew who Mike Tomlin was when he took over for Bill Cowher in 2007. Going the "hungry" route, hiring a guy looking to make a bigger name for himself, could have its benefits over a hiring a re-tread like Marvin Lewis or hiring a Pitt guy on the basis that he's a Pitt guy. Then again, it could blow up completely like how Louisville fell off when Bobby Petrino skipped town and was replaced by a small-school guy in Steve Kragthorpe. It's hard to say how a guy's going to fare when I'm not 100% sure he's getting the job, but I can say that it's a pretty significant departure from the Wannstedt Era.

And to address another question I was going to have about the hire, I can't see Haywood costing Pitt more than the million a year they were giving to Wanny. So there's that whole issue of Pitt talking a big game and not writing the check to match that will come up, especially in light of WVU dumping $2 million a year in Dana Holgorsen's lap.

So what are your initial thoughts on this move, Panther fans? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


Anonymous said...

I like the signing. As you astutely point out, while his is not a big name the general reaction to the Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin hires were also "who?".

Time will tell how good Haywood is, but one can't deny the man would seem to have the desired credentials to coach this team.

PrimantiBros8771 said...

Pitt just isn't serious about being a big-time football program. And you don't need any more evidence than this hire. We needed a big time coach to put us over the top. And we went cheap.

Borsk said...

The difference between the Steelers hiring Tomlin and Pitt hiring Haywood is that the Steelers have a track record of hiring good coaches that stick around a long time.

I can't give the Pitt AD any such credit.

Cool Hand Nuke said...

I would be remiss if I said I wouldn't have liked to see Bradley as the HC.

I'm warming up to the idea of Haywood. He's got his work cut out for him to win and impress FAST. Pitt fans are low on patience, unfortunately. One bad turn (or quick kick) and he could feeling the heat from the fanbase.

That being said, I think Pitt fans will give him a lot of leeway if he simply has some inspiring offense, takes exciting risks, and makes things just plain exciting to watch for once.

jmarinara said...

Pitt, like the Pirates, is content to be mediocre. And, like the Pirates, they simply want to be an option some may choose to be entertained.

It's a two horse town and it's hard to become a winner at any level. The Pirates and Pitt know that there are only so many entertainment dollars to be spent. When the tickets for the Steelers are unbuyable by the average fan, and the Pens are quickly going this direction, they know they can gobble up some sports fan dollars, and mostly, some "family of sports fans" dollars, simply by showing up.

It's sad. The Pirates want to be a club you go to that happens to have baseball games. Go out on a Saturday night, have a little fun, see some baseball, watch some fireworks, eat a hot dog. A good family adventure, last week it was Kennywood, this week it's a ballgame.

Similarly, Pitt wants to be a basketball school that tides you over with football. It's Saturday, you don't like PSU or WVU, you can't get into Heinz Field on Sunday, they have all kinds of stuff for the kids outside, & tickets are cheap and plentiful. Spend a Saturday in the city, see a little football, leave at half time. Nice day out with the family.

It's the same deal.

This hiring is along these lines. He's a new face, they'll fill you full of hope, they'll tell you it's a new page in Pitt's history. . . blah blah blah. Might as well be Huntington and Coonley holding the press conference.

If you don't believe me then ask yourself this question: "What, precisely, does Haywood bring to the table?"

I'll not be renewing my season tickets. Just like I didn't renew them for the Pirates. The teams can run themselves anyway they choose. This is still America after all. But I don't have to support it, and I won't.

Bababooey said...

Power to The Crazy Christian!

Debating Pitt football and the Pirates makes me think of the Family Guy episode where Peter can't stop singing the Bird is the Word..

Dallas Mike said...

Crazy Christian...

Sports teams do not worry about the "average fan" because that guy has no disposable income. I cannot understand the sympathy toward the "average fan".... If you ran a business, would you cater to the patrons that spent money or the people that sat at home and just b1tched at you all day. My guess is that you would take care of the people that spent the money. If the "average guy" wants to see a game, maybe he should have studied harder in school, saved more money, or chosen a different career path. Sports is entertainment, and it is the owner's right to maximize revenue generating opportunites, not to run a soup kitchen for sports fans. In the case of the Steelers and the Penguins, there is a price for success, and you should not have a problem with the resulting supply and demand economics. It sounds to me that you want to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to successful teams and affordable tickets. That business model doesn't work in the long run.

GMoney said...

As a Miami football fan, if this does happen, it's a better hire than you think. I can't even begin to describe how terrible we were the previous three seasons. And in two years, we won the conference.

One thing that you will love about him: he recruits his ass off
One thing you will hate: clock management, you will never see anyone waste more timeouts on defense than Haywood.

So just because he isn't a big name doesn't make it a bad hire.

Bababooey said...

I feel the Pirates are more content right now at being mediocre than Pitt. The University is at least doing all they can to have a successful football program.

FUBAR said...

The worst offense in the history of Notre Dame FB occurred with Haywood as OC. Forget Miami of OH, Look what he did at ND with high profile recruits.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Wow, cheap skate move by Pitt!

I thought firing Wanny meant they were serious about winning. I guess it just meant that they can win 7-9 games per year for a few hundred grand less.

sshisheng said...

Aweful, just aweful...I don't care if this guy can take DW's leftover good recruits and win 9-10 games...I am not driving 3.5hrs to Pitt to see them lose in the big game for the umpteenth time. I am done with Steve Pederson again.

Adam said...

Not as awful as that spelling.

sshisheng said...

Ah, you got me Adam, how original! You should contribute more often.