Sunday, January 2, 2011

PITT CANS HAYWOOD; SHOULD PEDERSON BE NEXT?

CLEARING MY DESK   
By Angelo Spagnolo

The shortest coaching tenure in Pittsburgh sports is now history.

Mike Haywood's career as the new head coach of the University of Pittsburgh football team was terminated by way of a brief statement issued by the university's chancellor.

Haywood's charges in a domestic abuse case had been raised to a felony level and he was also released from jail yesterday, prior to the earlier-announced Monday, January 3rd date. Haywood lasted just 16 days on the job and his $300,000 salary generated approximately $13,150 during his brief tenure.

ABOVE: Pitt's Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg: Felons need not apply...“After careful consideration of recent events, the University of Pittsburgh has dismissed Michael Haywood as its head football coach, effective immediately. He was advised of that action this afternoon."

In the wake of Haywood's domestic meltdown lies the carnage that is now the Pitt football team as well as the careers of the assistant coaches who would have accompanied Haywood to the "big show" at Pitt. How Haywood could have risked ruining his career, as he ultimately has, is anyone's guess, but the term "temporary insanity" seems to fit in this instance.

Just listen to these scary facts: Haywood now has no relationship left with his girlfriend of 22 months, he will be kept away from his young child, he has lost his million dollar salary and is now facing "felony assault charges in the presence of a minor". Jail time seems right around the corner for him and for all intents and purposes his coaching career is now over.

ABOVE: The Pitt football program, overburdened by problems, has lost all traction headed into their "big" bowl game.

A more dramatic, tragic, or stunning end to a man's professional and personal life may never have been seen before in Pittsburgh sports.

Athletic Director, Steve Pederson, also received the dreaded "complete vote of confidence" from Pitt Chancellor Nordenberg, which in lieu of the shambles that now exists in the football program seems a very strange time to issue a vote of confidence.

In reality, Nordenberg may simply be "buying time" by keeping Pederson on the job at this time. He may already have initiated a secret search for Pederson's successor so that he will also be a part of the search for the next coach.

No matter who the University selects, one thing is certain: They would have a hard time finding someone to make a bigger mess of their football program than what they have right now.