Exactly nine days after Dave Wannstedt abruptly resigned (winkwink nudgenudge), Pittsburgh has officially announced the hiring of their next head coach.
The school announced the hiring of Michael Haywood Thursday afternoon, more than 24 hours after word first surfaced that the ex-Miami of Ohio head coach had emerged as the leading contender for the job. The 46-year-old Haywood becomes the 35th head coach in the school’s history and, as noted in the press release, the first who is of the African-American persuasion.
“From my very first meeting with Michael Haywood, it was obvious that the qualities he exhibited were in line with the values of this great University,” athletic director Steve Pederson said in a statement. “Michael has tremendous pedigree, having been mentored by some of the very best coaches in the game. His history at outstanding programs with outstanding coaches gave him a rare combination of experiences and background. Most importantly, Michael is a man of character and integrity and will be an inspirational leader for our football program.”
“I would like to sincerely thank Chancellor Nordenberg and Steve Pederson for the opportunity to become the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh,” said Haywood. “It is an honor and privilege to join such an accomplished academic institution and historic football program. I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities we will have as we work to achieve our goal of a Big East championship.”
Haywood spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the RedHawks, and also served time on staffs at Notre Dame, Texas and LSU. In a statement released by the school, and perhaps in an attempt to stem the massive tide of a fan backlash, Alabama head coach Nick Saban praised the hiring of his former assistant.
“Mike Haywood is one of the brightest young coaches in college football and he did an outstanding job for us at LSU. He certainly did a fantastic job at Miami in turning that program around. None of this news surprises me because of what he brings to the table in terms of his energy, his enthusiasm, his knowledge of the game, and his ability to recruit. I think he will do a great job at the University of Pittsburgh.”
While it was all rainbows and puppies coming out of the school and those connected to Haywood, there was one person who didn’t seem the least bit thrilled by the hiring. In fact, he seemed downright bitter. And whiny, quite frankly.
Even a former Miami player, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, didn’t seem all that excited about the news. The Steelers and Pitt share a practice complex on Pittsburgh’s South Side.
“He (Haywood) never reached out to me,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “I don’t really know him. 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.”
Bravo, Big Ben. Bravo. How dare Haywood not reach out to someone of your stature. Why, that’s downright criminal of him.
For some reason, the words “Summer’s” and “Eve” are running through my mind right about now, and I can’t quite figure out why…