Pitt remains consistent with Haywood firing

January, 1, 2011
1/01/11
7:30
PM ET
The Mike Haywood era at Pittsburgh lasted all of two weeks.

Haywood
Haywood

Haywood, who was hired on Dec. 16 from Miami (Ohio) after producing one of the best turnarounds in recent college football history, was fired on Saturday, only hours after he was released from a jail in South Bend, Ind.

Haywood was arrested Friday on a domestic violence charge, which has been upgraded to a felony.

While the episode is an embarrassment for the Panthers, who will have to go back to scratch in their search for Dave Wannstedt's successor, they didn't have a choice.

In a statement released by the school, chancellor Mark Nordenberg said, "head coaches are among the University's most visible representatives and are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the University."

Haywood, a former player and assistant coach at Notre Dame, was arrested after an altercation with a woman who is the mother of his child. Pittsburgh can't have its new head coach sitting in a jail cell while other teams are playing bowl games on New Year's Day.

By keeping Haywood, Pittsburgh also would have sent the wrong message to its players. On Sept. 23, Pittsburgh dismissed freshman defensive back Jeff Knox from the team after he was arrested for assaulting a woman who had told him she was pregnant.

Haywood's firing is unfortunate. One of the brightest young coaches in the sport, he earned his way to a job at a BCS school by leading the RedHawks to a 9-4 record and a Mid-American Conference championship this season. A former assistant coach under Nick Saban at LSU, Haywood might have been capable of turning Pittsburgh into a consistent winner.

Now we might never know what kind of head coach he could be.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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