Saturday, January 1, 2011

PITT FOOTBALL PROGRAM IN COMPLETE FREEFALL AFTER HAYWOOD ASSAULT ARREST

ABOVE: Mugshot of jailed new Pitt head coach, Mike Haywood. Would you want him in your living room recruiting your son now?

“The University of Pittsburgh is aware of an alleged incident involving head football coach Michael Haywood today in South Bend, Indiana. The University expects the highest standards of conduct from its employees, including its coaches, and any breach of those standards is a very serious matter. The University will decline further comment until more complete information is available.” ---Pitt official statement

What a mess athletic director, Steve Pederson, has made of the University of Pittsburgh football program.

First, Pederson decided to fire Coach Dave Wannstedt before the upcoming "Compass Bowl". Wannstedt still has not announced whether he will even coach the game.

Haywood then announces that none of the assistant coaches will be retained and they begin taking new jobs.

Now, as the Pitt merry-go-round continues to turn and many recruits have already decided to defect, new coach Mike Haywood is arrested in South Bend, Indiana, for allegedly choking his girlfriend and the mother of his 22 month old child.


ABOVE: Pederson and his new coach in happier times.

Haywood has been arrested on assault charges and faces arraignment Monday in Indiana. In the meantime, he will spend the next couple days cooling his heels in the South Bend slammer. It is not known if Haywood told the cops, "Wait, I'm the coach for the Pitt Panthers!" That sort of alibi didn't work for Pitt players in Pittsburgh, so clearly it wouldn't have held much water in South Bend, Indiana.

Clearly, the Pitt program, just like any college program, has highs and lows. However, in this writer's opinion, this may be the low water mark in the school's entire football history. Not only does Pitt have a new coach sitting in a jail cell, it has recruits defecting and doesn't even know who will be coaching their team a week from today in a meaningless bowl game that the school shouldn't have even accepted an invitation to play.

ABOVE: There was no love lost between Nebraska fans and Pederson during his disastrous tenure in Huskerland.

The architect of this mess is one Steve Pederson. It was his decision to fire Dave Wannstedt in the first place, it was his decision to fire him before the bowl game and obviously he was heavily involved in the decision to hire Mike Haywood. If anyone needs to go at Pitt, it is obviously Steve Pederson.

While this blog site applauded the hiring of Haywood (primarily because of his reputation as a disciplinarian) we obviously did not have the same resources available to check out Haywood's reputation away from the field as Pederson and Pitt obviously have.

This situation is so dire that it would not surprise this writer in the least if Pederson would be asked to resign. Pederson has created a toxic mess at Pitt and the program will have a difficult time recovering next year no matter who is hired as coach.

This time Chancellor Nordenberg should do this the right way: Fire Steve Pederson and let the new a.d. try his hand at hiring the next coach. Pederson got lucky, once, when he hired Ben Howland. He's now proven several time, both at Pitt and Nebraska, that he doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to hiring coaches.

ABOVE: The "churchsigngenerator.com" is obviously not a real church, but it sure gives you an idea of what people think about Steve Pederson.