As reported, Pitt has named former Miami (Ohio) head coach Michael Haywood to lead the charge after the displaced Dave Wannstedt recently stepped down. Many of the Pitt faithful were surprised at this hire, while others are somewhat furious at this hire. However, with no BCS-level head coaching experience, what Michael Haywood mostly represents is an unknown:
I wish I could tell you this was a "can't miss" hire or a "star in the ranks" kind of coach, I can't because I don't know how this is going to turn out. He could turn out to be a star - he could turn out to be a dud, as well. Nobody knows, not the people that hired him and not even he does.
So where did Michael Haywood come from, and what are his qualifications?
Haywood was born in Houston and is currently 46 years old. He attended college and played football at Notre Dame in the mid-1980's. Since then, and including his new Pitt position, Haywood has coached at nine different collegiate programs:
1988 - graduate assistant, Minnesota
1989-1990 - assistant coach, Army
1991-1992 - assistant coach, Ohio
1993-1994 - assistant coach, Ball State
1995 - 2002 - assistant coach, LSU
2003-2004 - assistant coach, Texas
2005-2008 - offensive coordinator, Notre Dame
2009-2010 - head coach, Miami (Ohio)
The big names that stand out are the LSU, Texas, and Notre Dame positions. Haywood had a string of relatively unfortunate luck, as he left both LSU and Texas one year before their respective championship runs in 2003 and 2005, but the experience obtained in those positions is valuable to success in the Big East. The Notre Dame job may be misleading to some, though, as it was widely known that Charlie Weis, then Notre Dame's head coach, was the main offensive playcaller.
Haywood already has a full list of duties, not the least of which is to stop the bleeding in his 2011 recruiting class. Some players have begun looking elsewhere in their recruitment after verbally committing to Pitt, including now Penn State commit, Ben Kline.
Ladies and gentlemen, your new Pitt head football coach, Michael Haywood.