The new University of Pittsburgh head football coach Mike Haywood speaks during a press conference. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Well, as expected, it's official. Michael Haywood was named as Pitt's newest head coach on Thursday.
No matter what side of the fence you're on, Haywood looks and sounds like he'll bring some fire to the Pitt job - and make no mistake about it, that's something the team desperately needs.
To me, I'm still a little surprised that his experience was enough for Pitt. I expected Pitt to go after some other candidates first and a Haywood hire strikes me as one that would be made if several others turned down the job first.
Like most of you, I've seen the famous You Tube video of Haywood firing up his team before a game this season. Exciting? Yeah. Even inspirational to a degree? Sure. But I sincerely doubt that what Haywood did isn't done by others. Heck, here's even former Pitt DC and now Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads getting crazy after a win.
Look, that type of stuff is fine, and even necessary. But if you're watching that video and determining that Haywood is the right hire after that, you'd be insane. I'm a 49ers fan (save the jokes) and made the same mistake after Mike Singletary went off on Vernon Davis in his first season. It seemed like he was exactly what the 49ers needed and maybe, for a bit, he was. But now a few years in and that stuff gets old. Not only on the players, but the coach itself.
Strip that away and what do you have? An incredible unknown with one year of success as a head coach.
So what now? Well, I really hope I'm wrong about this. I really hope that Haywood can get Pitt to 11 and 12 wins. Because, guess what? If he can't, this move is a failure. If Pitt is still stuck in the 8-9-10 win seasons that Dave Wannstedt had, then what's the point in changing head coaches? Wannstedt, by all accounts, ran a clean program in terms of not cheating (despite the off-field nonsense that went on this year), enjoyed mild success, and got players to the NFL, helping Pitt's reputation. If they win their bowl game this year, Pitt will have averaged nine wins for the past three years - something it's not done in nearly 30 years.
Wannstedt's downfall was that he couldn't get to BCS. But if Haywood is unable to surpass Wannstedt, then this was a failed hire. Let's hope that's not the case.