Former Pitt head coach Michael Haywood and his laywer, Tony Buzbee, have sent a “demand letter” to the University of Pittsburgh asking his former employer to adhere to the buyout of the five-year contract that he signed late last year, or else he will pursue litigation*.
As you’ll recall, Haywood left Miami (OH) to become the head coach at Pitt for a whole 2 1/2 weeks before a domestic violence incident on New Year’s caused the university to abruptly terminate his employment.
And, apparently, they did so without paying Haywood a single dime.
Haywood and Buzbee feel that violates the terms of Haywood’s buyout.
According to a press release from Buzbee’s law firm, Pitt fired Haywood without cause or investigation into the dispute, which as they claim, was later resolved between Haywood and his baby momma.
“In their rush to judgment, Pitt officials did not bother to contact the alleged victim or even the coach himself. I believe the university violated its contract with the coach, the university’s employment procedures, and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Buzbee stated. “Had Pitt conducted even a cursory investigation, it would have determined that the alleged incident simply did not occur as reported, and the termination would not have occurred. We are exploring other motives for Pitt’s firing of Coach Haywood.”
Pitt reportedly refused to pay Haywood’s buyout at Miami ($300,000) and the buyout of his contract with the Panthers ($750,000 annually for each year unfulfilled — in this case, all of them) if he were to be fired without cause.
Haywood had signed a five-year, $7.5 million contract with Pitt in December, according to Buzbee.
More from Buzbee:
“We’re filing our notice letter with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission, the E.E.O.C. and the University of Pittsburgh, which we are required to do before we file suit.
“The coach was fired almost six months ago and we have a six-month deadline to file this paperwork. So this is the precursor to litigation, if there’s going to be litigation.
“The monetary part is important of course, but what’s more important is that Coach Haywood’s name be cleared. What the university did tarnished his reputation. He needs to be coaching and that’s what he wants to do.
“The only demand that we’re really making at this point is ‘hey let’s sit down. You never asked what happened. We offered to tell you what happened. You didn’t want to talk to either the coach or the alleged victim.
” ‘So here are the facts now. Admit you made a mistake and let’s move past this and let Coach Haywood coach some more.’ “
Buzbee added that he will give Pitt “some time to respond” before pursuing any further legal action.
(*note: I’m no fancy-pants lawyer like Mike Florio, but I’m pretty sure litigation in layman’s terms means “sue your butt”)