News is spreading all over the place that Mike Haywood will become the next head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. This story started gaining some legs on Tuesday night as Paul Zeise and some others started mentioning his name a bit more prominently. There are also some rumblings that Pitt will be having an official announcement tonight to introduce Haywood as the coach. I've contacted some sources about the topic but have not received a yes or no.
Another report had Todd Graham moving up the list. The main issue with him had money being the biggest issue as Graham was making quite a bit at Tulsa. The raise Pitt would have to give him might just be out of the price range. Graham had a very good offense this year. He also turned around a terrible Rice Owls team and then expanded the success that Steve Kragthorpe left him with at Tulsa.
Now back to Mike Haywood. For an offensive guy his numbers were very underwhelming. He isn't exactly the big splash we had expected Pitt to see either. The big thing about him though is that he is: 1. a family man 2. Has a squeaky clean background and 3. He is extremely affordable. He was only making a few hundred thousand at Miami (OH) and it isn't very likely he will be making much more than a million at Pitt if he does get the job.
Haywood is an extremely interesting candidate as he has been getting rave reviews from many people associated with him. With that said he also was fired from Notre Dame and doesn't have the world's most impressive resume. He did play UF close early on but we later found that isn't the same Gators squad we were used to seeing. They were blown out by Cincinnati and went winless in their non-conference schedule.
His turnaround of the Redhawks was impressive that it did take place in 1 year and that he was able to beat the next great coach (Golden) to win the MAC championship in year 2.
The problem with this hire (if true) is that it won't be one that fills the stadium. We also won't know for a while if it was truly successful. I do fear that if he does become successful that we won't have the money (or free up the money) to keep him here long term. Before you bash me, I'd be thrilled if we had 3 straight 10 win seasons and then saw someone move on to greener pastures. I just think there is too much risk with this hire that outweighs the potential rewards. I would hate to see us take a step back from where we are.
That's the problem with a coaching change, we are all afraid of uncertainty. I would feel more comfortable going for a guy considered to be a "can't miss", but Steve Pederson and Mark Nordenberg have made it clear they are not willing to spend the money to get that type of guy.
So if this is true, I can't say if it's a good hire or not based on early assumption because I'm not getting a strong feeling one way or another. If it is Haywood, let's check back in 3 or 4 years and see how we're doing.